Sacred Wolf
Who's watching you?
Homeland inSecurity Blanket
Justifiable Measures
Project 112 fact sheets
What Every American Doesn't Need To Know
America's New World Order
Thoughts on September 11, 2001
Other observations
Fundamental American Politics
About the Idiot Running This Site

Fun stuff in my e-mail...

Normally, I open my e-mail to find such useful products and services as, "Increase Your Breast Size Naturally" and, "You Won't Believe What She Did Last Night."  I like my breasts the size that they are.  They're not great by any stretch, but they serve their purpose.  After seeing what she did last night, I can understand why these things are illegal in most industrialized countries.  I'll believe almost anything now.

So, they get deleted to make room for more important things.  Like the new free game software (featuring the arcade classics, such as Pong), the daily dose of "Oddly Enough" news, and initial public offerings (IPOs) for penny stocks.  Gambling resorts in third world countries, beachfront property on islands that get leveled every two years by hurricanes.  These are the pitches that I expect to see when I open up such e-mails.

Today, however, I found something that made me take notice.

"Subject:  Investors:  New IPO Aids Homeland Security and Law Enforcement"

These are two things that I have little reason to aid.  "Homeland Security" brings visions of wiretaps for no real reason, incarceration without legal recourse (if you're branded an enemy combatant) complete with inhumane treatment and a dark cell.  "Law Enforcement" puts me in mind of the current crop of cops who have God complexes, and who are trained to use the seatbelt law as an excuse for contact with citizens.  (The seatbelt laws provide cops with the means to conduct stops based on profiling without the negative repercussions.)  The law doesn't exist for the good of society.  It exists to make money for the government, and to keep the undesirable people locked safely away from the upstanding citizens who like their cookie-cutter lives and don't like the difficult questions.  Like thinking deeper about the ban on guns.  "It keeps guns out of the hands of criminals, and shootings like Columbine won't happen anymore," I've heard, on multiple occasions, from many people.  Once again, and I'm repeating an earlier statement because it is so very important to understand, THEY ARE CRIMINALS.  They will get the weapons ILLEGALLY.  GUN CONTROL IS ABOUT DISARMING THE POPULACE.  (Let's look at what Stalin said once again.  "We dont allow our enemies to have guns, so why should we allow them to have ideas?"  For those of you new to history, Stalin was the leader of the former Soviet Union after World War II.  Stalin ordered the deaths of several million people.  People who lived in the Soviet Union.  People who disagreed with him.  Who weren't allowed to have weapons to defend themselves against their own government.  Now, with the war in the Middle East well under way, anyone who speaks out against it is "unpatriotic."  How much more of a step is it from "unpatriotic" to "enemy of the State"?)

Okay, back to the screed.

From the e-mail:

QUICK BACKGROUND: For the detection of fraud 
and prevention of crime and terrorism, for legal discovery, 
                                    employment screenings and more, (the company) 
provides public information
                                    via its proprietary integrated 
databases, searchable through the Internet.
From the site: 
You must also
                                    enclose a copy of a state recognized license with your application and method of payment form. 

   Examples of acceptable documents:
   Copy of Police Department of Sheriffs Office letterhead
     Copy of Private Investigators License
     Copy of State Bar License
     Business License
(the company) has data on approximately 98% of the adult
                                    of the United States. Compared with its
competition, the Company believes
                                    its proprietary service
offers clients many significant, cost-saving advantages.


One stupid question:  Are the cops so incompetent that they can't use their own files to find people?  Why do they need an independent agency to get information on people?  One step back-- why do they need to get information on people in the first place?

The prevention of crime and terrorism?  Isnt it "law ENFORCEMENT" not "thought police"?  Don't we, as taxpayers, pay cops to enforce laws that are in the process of being broken and catch the criminals who have already broken the law?  Or are we going to give them broader authority, and investigate crimes that havent been committed?  With a database, don't the people who have served their time for crimes committed being unjustly watched and harassed for crimes that they might commit?  At what point do we let it go and let them lead their lives again?  (This is a personal nerve.  Having had an alcohol-related conviction, cops have pulled me over for no reason.  I've been followed by cops, I've been pulled over because I have an alcohol-related offence on my record, and they wanted to make sure that I was "staying out of trouble."  I've been pulled over because the cop recognized me.  Once they have the taste of blood, they don't let go.)

Next:  How secure are the "databases, searchable through the internet"?  Hackers become more sophisticated than the security protocols.  They're also a strange breed.  Imagine that this database gets hacked, and suddenly you're identified as a squirrel molester.  You've committed no crime, but you still have that little tag beside your name.  And you'll never know it.

"Ninety eight percent of the adult population" in their database.  The FBI doesn't get that thorough.  They just look for the people who are committing the major crimes that haven't been sanctioned by the government.  These people are selling your information to law enforcement agencies for the prevention of crime.  That makes every citizen (except for the lucky few) a potential target for the pre-crime unit (oops-- that was "Minority Report").  And what information is being gathered and used?

From the e-mail:

According to Argus Research,
                                    in 1998 the market for
online public information was $1.5 to $2.0 billion,
is expected to more than double to $4 billion by 2003. 
                                    Who is buying this information, and for what purpose?  Employers want background
                                    checks on potential employees.  Thats understandable.  But what about the guy who institutionalized himself after suffering a breakdown?  (Medical records arent public information.  Yet.)  Will that show up on the report?  How marketable will he be
                                    when employers find out about that?
                                    Public information is a multi-billion dollar industry.  Your information
                                    is being bought and sold by people whose only motive is profit, who dont care about how it might impact your life.  The right to privacy has officially been sold.
From the site, sample searches that are offered:


Simple Person Search

Person Search Results

Person Details


Phone Number Search

Property Search Pesults

Address Details


Social Security Search

Judgments Search Results

Detailed Person Report


Advanced Person Search




The logo on their front page shows that they "...locate real property ...locate person ...locate vehicle".

I'm sure that this particular company is perfectly legitimate, and operating above-board.  I have nothing against this company.  I ordered a prospectus, and if it looks like a profitable investment, I'll buy shares (at 30 to 50 cents a share, it's very tempting).  (I won't feel good about it, but I don't like eating rice that much.)  There are a lot of companies that buy and sell information like that.  It's not that this company in particular is profiting on public information.  The problem I have is that this is a growing market, and one that spits in the face of freedom.  That law enforcement agencies are using this information frightens me.  They're supposed to be the professionals.  I just imagine Barney Fife with a laptop...


How ethical is keeping "public information" in the first place?