Monday, December 20, 2010

Washington Post: FBI keeping "rumors" database on ordinary people

Today, Monday morning Dec. 20, there appeared a front page “Washington Post Investigation” titled “Top Secret America”, main title “Monitoring America” by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin. The main link is here.

I’m sure that EFF will have a lot to say about this piece in the coming days. But one alarming detail was that on the fourth floor of the FBI Building in downtown Washington DC (the physical target in Screen Gems’s 1999 film “Arlington Road”, and ironically near Landmark E Street Theater) are files on “rumors” articulated about individual people, even by neighbors. It is an invitation to abuse in the future. My father used to say, “we have to worry about what everyone thinks” after my 1961 WM expulsion. The tone of the article brings back the mood of the Cuban Missile Crisis days.  From my perspective, it's an ironic presentation two days after Congress repealed the military "don't ask don't tell" for gays.

Of course, there is paranoia that it will keep track of people who connected themsevles to WikiLeaks.  This sounds a bit like hysteria.

The article describes the fingerprint center, in Clarksburg, W Va, pretty far from most of urban America.

The article has a lot of ad-ons, interactive maps and videos, available only online, adding to the notion that soon most newspapers will have to charge subscriptions to see all their content online.

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