American Authorities Secretly Give International Travellers Terrorist "Risk" Score
From the Associated Press:
Without notifying the public, federal agents for the past four years have assigned millions of international travelers, including Americans, computer-generated scores rating the risk they pose of being terrorists or criminals.
The travelers are not allowed to see or directly challenge these risk assessments, which the government intends to keep on file for 40 years.
The scores are assigned to people entering and leaving the United States after computers assess their travel records, including where they are from, how they paid for tickets, their motor vehicle records, past one-way travel, seating preference and what kind of meal they ordered.
The program's existence was quietly disclosed earlier in November when the government put an announcement detailing the Automated Targeting System, or ATS, for the first time in the Federal Register, a fine-print compendium of federal rules. Privacy and civil liberties lawyers, congressional aides and even law enforcement officers said they thought this system had been applied only to cargo.
Like all these systems, we are all judged in secret, by a computer algorithm, with no way to see or even challenge our score. Kafka would be proud.
"If this catches one potential terrorist, this is a success," Ahern said.
That's just too idiotic a statement to even rebut.
EDITED TO ADD (12/3): More commentary.
Posted on December 1, 2006 at 12:12 PM • 70 Comments