The sleeper in the data haystack

Consumer data to be refined into terrorist profile

When was the last time you ordered a kalashnikov over the internet?? Maybe even downloaded the instructions for building a nuclear bomb to the hard drive? Or suspiciously many men’s shirts in camouflage colors bought with credit card? The curse of the evil deed could take revenge at a time when the shrouded world continues to demand from the u.S. Government success messages about terrorists collected worldwide. In anticipatory obedience, various us companies are now considering making their valuable customer information available to the state. It is to be evaluated whether a person owns a house or a car, or whether he subscribes to certain glossy magazines. The hunt for the wicked is thus becoming more inquisitorial. But what do such data say about the true terror suitability of fellow citizens?? The less noise usama bin ladin makes according to president bush’s latest findings, the more suspicious the sleepers snoring away in western metropolises now become.

Martin e. Abrams of the "center for information policy leadership" of the "law factory" hunton williams in atlanta is currently pondering what the information must look like in order to sniff out the profile of a veritable boss behind credit card transactions, public and private marketing data. Self-styled private cuddling center plans to hold initial consulting talks with 17 companies. Representatives of credit card companies such as american express, visa and investment companies should participate in this search project, which has been screened out on all sides. Ibm and the internet service provider earthlink are still deciding whether they want to meet with this illustrious group of data truffle seekers.

The search for terrorists in the haystack of the business world is not entirely new. Shortly after september 11. September, it was suspected that terrorists had made speculative profits in the hope of the expected borsencrash. It does not seem to have given very many insights to the state persecutors.

Abrams organization was originally founded to combat so-called identity theft. But in times of national and global high threat, they are more inspired by this fact than fighting against it. Some of those who voluntarily provided their data may now regret this rudeness. However, informational self-determination has long since become a socially battered legal asset, not only because of the possible fight against terrorism in the age of spam and ram. The industrious rulers of consumer data are not waiting for their plans to be standardized, but want to make their plan dependent on the willingness of companies to cooperate.

Rearingly, the creators of this hypertrophic collection passion even declare that they are only aiming for effective information without endangering data protection in the rest of the world. Once again, one hopes to square the circle of civil liberties in terms of data protection. If this data, which cannot be separated too systematically from the dual data garbage, does indeed reveal the profiles of suspicious contemporaries, they are to be handed over to the government. While laws such as the fair credit reporting act govern the extent to which customer data may be used, counterterrorism legislation is now turning the discussion in the opposite direction on how such data can be effectively instrumentalized to thwart potential attacks. Honi soit qui mal y pense.

For james x. Dempsey of the center for democracy and technology, the reliability of such data and the profiles constructed from it is more than doubtful in the face of a small number of terrorists. Terrorists, however, should be warned not to immortalize their favorite colors, culinary preferences, and other shopping habits in monitored data stores in the future.

On the other hand, anyone who pays with cash in the future and cannot prove a lifelong credit card history in defense of their bourgeois existence could, precisely because of this, become part of the circle of usual suspects. No matter how you spin the dollars: digestion knows no boundaries.

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