Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Scary article from Conde Nast Traveler...

Creepy enough to blog.

Information deemed ‘suspicious’ can be catalogued, stored up to 15 years

By Stephan Wilkinson
Updated: 1:35 p.m. ET Sept. 24, 2007

I have a simple black T-shirt bearing the legend, in red, white and blue, "01.20.09 BUSH'S LAST DAY."

Note to self: Don't ever pack it on an airline or cruise trip, or on a drive through any border crossing where the Fedskis are liable to inspect my bags.

The Washington Post has just reported that the Department of Homeland Security is collecting information on travelers carrying anything, accent on anything, that might be deemed suspicious, to a far greater degree than was previously thought. This information will be stored for up to 15 years (which should be long enough to get the camps up and running) in order to identify the malcontents, terrorists, wrong-thinkers and various security threats among us.

Apparently there's something called the Automated Targeting System , which digests terabytes of data to pinpoint risky travelers trying to enter the country. Now when they swipe your passport through the reader, they're not just looking for your rap sheet but for evidence of ... well, who knows? San Francisco civil liberties activist John Gilmore recently discovered that the government was storing for a decade and a half the information that he once carried aboard a flight — a book titled “Drugs and Rights” and small flashlights bearing a stylized marijuana-leaf symbol.

What not to carry, ever: a biography of Lenin. The Quran. That copy of Juggs that you picked up at the airport newsstand. A Rasta hat. Anything that says Cuba. A Graydon Carter editorial. Your entire collection of Barbra Streisand photos. A Pete Seeger CD. The Whole Earth Catalog. Your favorite Che T-shirt.

Why do I think it's gonna get worse before it gets better?