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Washington Post Staff Writer Ellen Nakashima reports that the US Government is not just listening to your phone calls, they are watching everywhere you go, who you sit next to and what you are reading.

The U.S. government is collecting electronic records on the travel habits of millions of Americans who fly, drive or take cruises abroad, retaining data on the persons with whom they travel or plan to stay, the personal items they carry during their journeys, and even the books that travelers have carried, according to documents obtained by a group of civil liberties advocates and statements by government officials.

The personal travel records are meant to be stored for as long as 15 years, as part of the Department of Homeland Security's effort to assess the security threat posed by all travelers entering the country. Officials say the records, which are analyzed by the department's Automated Targeting System, help border officials distinguish potential terrorists from innocent people entering the country.

Asking for copied of official records, one man found that a book on marijuana had been noted by officials. They are looking at everything you do, who you travel with and why you are going.

Officials claim this is all lawful. But civil libertarians are starting to lash out. Of course Bushy legislation violates the Privacy Act, which bars you from culling data related to Americans' exercise of their First Amendment rights, such as what you choose to read and or persons you associate with. They are spying on you and not even admitting it.

Galileo and Sabre, but also showed that the data, in some cases, are more detailed than the information to which the airlines have access.

Ann Harrison, the communications director for a technology firm in Silicon Valley who was among those who obtained their personal files and provided them to The Post, said she was taken aback to see that her dossier contained data on her race and on a European flight that did not begin or end in the United States or connect to a U.S.-bound flight.

"It was surprising that they were gathering so much information without my knowledge on my travel activities, and it was distressing to me that this information was being gathered in violation of the law," she said.

One of the issues is guilt by association. Another is simply the fact that these systems will not allow anyone to correct incorrect information or redress injustice.

Read about this nightmare scenario when local idiot officials decided to play Jack Bauer.

Zakariya Reed, a Toledo firefighter, said in an interview that he has been detained at least seven times at the Michigan border since fall 2006. Twice, he said, he was questioned by border officials about "politically charged" opinion pieces he had published in his local newspaper. The essays were critical of U.S. policy in the Middle East, he said. Once, during a secondary interview, he said, "they had them printed out on the table in front of me."

feel safer?


Amendment IV  

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Link here:

Originally posted to catfishkatfish on Fri Sep 21, 2007 at 09:34 PM PDT.

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