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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Analyzing Bush's Information Sharing Environment (ISE)

What is the ISE?

The Information Sharing Environment (ISE) is a cooperative effort between the federal government, state, local and tribal governments, and the private sector to share appropriate information related to terrorist threats. It is mandated in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act signed by President Bush in December of 2004. It resulted from the feds’ incompetence between the CIA and FBI in the sharing of intelligence prior to 9/11.

ChoicePoint’s Terrorist Database?

I don’t think so. As far as I know—and I spent 35 years in junk mail dealing with data brokers like ChoicePoint—their forte is collecting and selling your names and personal data. And that is the only reason the Bush administration would include the “private sector” in this latest attack on your privacy. It is just another way to spy on innocent American households, after getting whacked on the NSA spying.

Where’s the Justification?

We all probably agree that had the FBI told the CIA what it knew about questionable flying school students, and had the CIA alerted the FBI that there was a potential attack on the U.S. involving the use of an airliner; things probably would have turned out different on September 11, 2001. There is also the possibility that any private information available from these data brokers re. the 9/11 hijackers—many of which were known by both the FBI and CIA—could have sealed the deal and exposed them prior to the incident. But why is it necessary to spy on innocent U.S. citizens in the process?

How They Do It

The data mining/predictive modeling that was going on at the NSA involved a series of data inputs—including all the sensitive data about your household—which was manipulated in such a way that would establish a pattern of potential threat to the U.S. To find the bad guys in this procedure, you must first rule out the good guys, and that is you. Therefore, your personal data is basically scrutinized to the same extent as would be a potential terrorist. And that is the problem.

The Problem Gets Worse

On top of everything else, the private sector is using incorrect data (ChoicePoint scored 73% errors in their background reports by the Privacy Activism organization), and we are all at the mercy of the human being conducting the data mining. This individual(s) makes subjective decisions based on parameters established at the beginning of the modeling procedure. What I am saying—and that is based on 20 years experience in predictive modeling—is that this is yet another context in which your privacy is significantly challenged.

Who Do You Trust?

First of all, I wouldn’t trust this administration with my sensitive data under any circumstances. Second, considering the incompetence of Bush and his cronies, ISE will either never become a reality, or it will be so screwed up, it will have to be aborted like the Total Information Awareness (TIA) program. And third, when we rid the legislature in November of the “special interest” GOP members, then we can get back to assigning the right priorities for this country’s protection.

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