The Null Device

here come Ashcroft's Stasi

Here come Ashcroft's Stasi. The Bush Administration is planning to recruit 1 in 24 Americans as informants, to watch their neighbours and report "suspicious activity". The Citizen Corps, as it's called, will include a greater proportion of the population than East Germany's notoriously comprehensive informant network ever did.

Historically, informant systems have been the tools of non-democratic states. According to a 1992 report by Harvard University's Project on Justice, the accuracy of informant reports is problematic, with some informants having embellished the truth, and others suspected of having fabricated their reports.
Present Justice Department procedures mean that informant reports will enter databases for future reference and/or action. The information will then be broadly available within the department, related agencies and local police forces. The targeted individual will remain unaware of the existence of the report and of its contents.

There goes that unpopular notion of the "consent of the governed".

Aren't you glad you live in a country so concerned about your safety? Because if you aren't and say so, your unpatriotic sentiments will end up in the mother of all Oracle databases, to be used against you at some future time.

There are 5 comments on "here come Ashcroft's Stasi":

Posted by: alex Mon Jul 15 05:44:41 2002

I have the solution. Ladies, uncover one breast, and purchase several tabby ('calico') cats for your domicile. Gentlemen, join the nearest respectable Christian organisation, the more orthodox, the better. But leave those titties covered! Learn some hymns. 'Rock of Ages' and 'Amazing Grace' should do the trick. Instant character material.

On a more serious note, the CIA and FBI have already demonstrated that they can't process the information they already receive in an effective timeframe: what is this slab of data going to do except render the various agencies useless? I wonder what relationship will develop between this 'citizens corps' and the office of homeland defence: everyone will either be a cop, an informant, or in jail. U-S-A! U-S-A!

I never thought I'd find myself seeking political asylum in China... but empires fall. Might just hang out with the shaolin monks until it all blows over...

Posted by: acb Mon Jul 15 06:42:11 2002

Yes, but look at the natty eagle armbands you get.

Posted by: Graham Mon Jul 15 09:07:52 2002

OK, who remembers the Night Watch from Babylon 5?

Posted by: acb Mon Jul 15 09:52:32 2002

Didn't anybody learn anything from Babylon 5? And I'll bet that most people think Big Brother's just some TV show about bootywhang too.

Posted by: Buster Hihmenn Mon Jul 15 19:14:50 2002

Everything I ever needed to know I learned from watching Babylon 5

"Look forward to the day when you have cleansed the universe of your enemy and carved their bones into flutes for your children to play."

"When the avalanche has already started, it is too late for the pebbles to vote."

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