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Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Another list…just another day in Washington. This one is called Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment or TIDE, and it is a database of individuals the intelligence community thinks could do harm to the United States. It seems that for the first time they’ve lumped foreigners and American citizens in the same pot, and some are beginning to boil over the privacy implications. You can get on the list relatively easy, but apparently it is near impossible to get off. There is, of course, an error rate caused by bureaucratic incompetence, spawning horror stories when there is a mix-up of names. In a Washington Post article by Karen DeYoung, she calls TIDE “…a vacuum cleaner for both proven and unproven information, and its managers disclaim responsibility for how other agencies use the data.” Is this just another example of a system out of control and over compensating to find terrorists, or is it yet one more step in the direction of creating a Big Brother environment? One of Orwell’s slogans in 1984 was: Ignorance is Strength. Unfortunately, today’s consumer ends up on the downside of this saying, as business and government establish their power in one personal database after another.

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