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Government Information Awareness

michael posted about 11 years ago | from the sauce-for-the-gander dept.

Privacy 211

gbjbaanb writes "Wired News is reporting about the GIA, software inspired by the TIA program. 'Researchers at the MIT Media Lab unveiled the Government Information Awareness, or GIA, website Friday. Using applications developed at the Media Lab, GIA collects and collates information about government programs, plans and politicians from the general public and numerous online sources. Currently the database contains information on more than 3,000 public figures. The premise of GIA is that if the government has a right to know personal details about citizens, then citizens have a right to similar information about the government.'"

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211 comments

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6368849)

__________________________________________________
_/__|_____________|_|_______________(_)_______|_|_ |
|_|_|_'__/___\/___|___|_|_|_|_|_'__\|_/___/___|_|_ |
|___|_|_|_(_)_\___\_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_)_|_\___\___\_|_ |
|_|_|_|__\___/|___/\__|\__,_|_|_.__/|_|___/___(_|_ )
_______________________|___/__|_|
gomoX_writes_"As_seen_on_C|Net_,_Linus_has_announc ed_that_the_pre-2.6_series_will_be_starting_in_ear ly_July._Despite_not_having_been_able_to_meet_the_ release_goal_for_2.6_in_June_2003,_the_next_stable _version_is_not_as_far_away_as_you_may_think._You_ can_take_your_guess_based_on_the_fact_there_was_a_ 9_month_period_between_first_test_version_of_2.4_a nd_the_official_release_of_2.4.0_on_January_2001." _

My fight song (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6368901)

Rah rah rah rah
Fuck through the night,
Rah rah rah rah
It feels so right!
Rah rah rah
if the whore says she's sore,
then fuck he-er in the ass!

Fuck he-er in the ASS!

Coincidence? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6368853)

I wonder if it's just a coincidence that this site was put up on the 4th of July?

Re:Coincidence? (1)

blibbleblobble (526872) | about 11 years ago | (#6368905)

"I wonder if it's just a coincidence that this site was put up on the 4th of July?"

Bloody good idea regardless! This is the kind of thing which gives you hope for the country once more.

How well's it going to scale? With a few million people putting input into this, it could become a fantastic piece of kit.

Re:Coincidence? (2, Informative)

plover (150551) | about 11 years ago | (#6369105)

Apparently it doesn't scale to the size of your typical slashdotting...

:-(

Re:Coincidence? (5, Insightful)

bigjocker (113512) | about 11 years ago | (#6368963)

What I wonder is how long before the government pulls the plug on this one. Considering the practices shown, the government could argue almost anything from the Patriot Act to "information in the hands of terrorists", no matter how idiotic it is, and the big media (ala CNN) will repeat it to death so Joe Moron will believe it and feel comfy when the plug gets pulled.

This project has the potential to show the big players the dangers and possible consequences of the Total Awareness Act (or whatever is named).

Anyways, a great idea nontheless, and here's hopes for it to live long enough to make a difference. Projects like this, the EFF and the few others make you hopeful.

Re:Coincidence? (4, Interesting)

onthefenceman (640213) | about 11 years ago | (#6369081)

This site is a godsend to all those interested in learning more about their government but who might not have the time or inclination to go wading through the public courthouse or library to find information.

Also of interest is the fact that the MIT Media Lab receives vast amounts of funding from government and corporate donors. While I can't think of any legal means this site could be shut down, it could practically be accomplished by financial pressure either directly from these donors or indirectly from the Media Lab/MIT if it feels the squeeze of the purse strings. Let's hope that if this comes to pass the creators of this project stand strong.

Re:Coincidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6369134)

Coincidence is that GIA is in Algeria the Groupe Islamiste Armé which is a ultra fanatic islamist group... gosh :-)

sorry acronym already taken... (-1, Offtopic)

guile*fr (515485) | about 11 years ago | (#6368863)

it's the Groupe Islamique Armé

GOATSE (-1)

unterderbrucke (628741) | about 11 years ago | (#6368866)

GoatSE! [goatse.cx] GoatSE! [goatse.cx] GoatS2132132145154E! [goatse.cx] GoatS123213213E! [goatse.cx] GoatS3123321E! [goatse.cx] GoatS21321E! [goatse.cx] GoatS23213E! [goatse.cx] GoatSE2131! [goatse.cx]

Re:GOATSE (0, Offtopic)

usotsuki (530037) | about 11 years ago | (#6369121)

I thought goatse.cx trolls posted AC. :)

-uso.
All my FPs are by name!

Will it include the same information they collect? (5, Insightful)

Sagarian (519668) | about 11 years ago | (#6368867)

Things like credit card purchases, phone bills, personal contact information, organizational affiliations, travel history, books checked out from the library -- you know, things you wouldn't want to hide unless you were a criminal?

Awfully curious... (2, Insightful)

FredFnord (635797) | about 11 years ago | (#6368895)

...was that serious, or sarcastic?

It was pretty straighfaced, if it was sarcastic. But if it was serious, it was just plain scary.

-fred

Re:Awfully curious... (4, Interesting)

Loki_1929 (550940) | about 11 years ago | (#6368928)

"But if it was serious, it was just plain scary."

So are the programs that many of these people are pushing for. TIPS, TIA, Magic Lantern, roving wiretaps, constant surveillance, and more and more and more. If these people want to do it to us, why is it you have a problem with the people of this country doing it right back to them?

Re:Awfully curious... (4, Insightful)

Sagarian (519668) | about 11 years ago | (#6368975)

Any type of information they can collect and access without a search warrant should be fair game for the populace to access about them. And with current legislative trends that body of information is growing ever larger. Hence I was only half-sarcastic.

Re:Awfully curious... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6369009)

Whoosh! Thats the sound of something going straight over your head.

1) Government declares they`ll starts keeping info on citizens in databases.
2) Citizens say they'll do the same about the government
3) You find b scary. Where were you when a was announced?

Re:Will it include the same information they colle (4, Insightful)

Loki_1929 (550940) | about 11 years ago | (#6368908)

"Will it include the same information they collect? "

I think individuals pushing for massive data collection should be the most heavily looked-at people on there. People like John Poindexter, John Ashcroft, and any Congresscritter who shows support for anything like the TIA needs to be followed, reported on, have their every purchase logged, their every movement cataloged, their every affair made public, and have every habit at the fingertips of the world. Let's show these people just what it is we don't like about programs like the TIA. Let's show them what it's like to have strangers turning your life into a database entry. Something like GIA could very easily turn into a platform for opposing programs like the TIA with actions instead of words. I'm not saying we should be in-you-face harassing these people; I'm saying we should simply find out every bit of possible information about them on a continuing basis until they drop support for 1984-inspired programs. If anyone who lives near these people would like to help out, then all the better.

Re:Will it include the same information they colle (2, Interesting)

blibbleblobble (526872) | about 11 years ago | (#6368920)

"Will it include the same information they collect? Things like credit card purchases, phone bills, personal contact information, organizational affiliations, travel history, books checked out from the library..."

There's always hope. After all, it only takes a few people who work in bars, restaurants, etc. to get the travel history, eating habits, partners' descriptions, etc. of the entire congress...

Re:Will it include the same information they colle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6368936)

anyone work at ISPs or uplinks serving members of government? People with access to NYT subscriber database, etc.?

Re:Will it include the same information they colle (5, Insightful)

Brushfireb (635997) | about 11 years ago | (#6368937)

While I am not sure if you are serious or not, your logic is flawed. The simple fact that the government has ACCESS to those files should not be legal. This is about challenging your government. Its what happens in fascist and dictator states.

"Oh Look, he checked out an article by Locke, or Marx, or Lenin, Or an Islamic Text.....he MUST be doing something illegal. Kill him". While this is extreme, the government knowing what people are doing, seeing, reading, and learning allows them to find and target those with different political beliefs than they. The whole point of a free democracy is to prevent such things.

The MIT cause hopes to prevent the government from having all the info and all the power, and returns some power to the people. The simple fact is, that behind every bad decision in government, there is a person responsible. The MIT site helps us to pinpoint who, so we (the PEOPLE, the CITIZENS) to not elect next time, or to ask our reps to fire.

Re:Will it include the same information they colle (2, Interesting)

ChadN (21033) | about 11 years ago | (#6369037)

Well, I think his point was if we, the people, demand 'tit-for-tat' information awareness, then they, the government, might start to realize that it SHOULD be illegal. Ie., when push comes to shove, they will want to protect their privacy, and so will give us ours.

Mind you, that probably won't happen, but the point was this is a tactic we can use to at least TRY to have a government that protects our rights.

The GIA,,,? (1)

probbka (308168) | about 11 years ago | (#6368872)

The Gamer's Intelligence Agency died a while ago... :(

Excellent. (5, Insightful)

Mmm coffee (679570) | about 11 years ago | (#6368876)

People like these are the true patriots. Unlike my neighbors who never flown a flag until 9/11.

Re:Excellent. (4, Funny)

Dr Reducto (665121) | about 11 years ago | (#6369056)

Even worse, theyre probably the same neighbors who show no respect for the flag. To them it is just a symbol of blind conformity. I see that so many peopl who just started being patriotic after 9/11 do such un-patriotic things like:

1. Leave their flag out at night(without a light).
2. Leave their flag out during rainy weather and storms.
3. Don't properly dispose of flags that prematurely age because the above abuses.

Re:Excellent. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6369069)

Properly dispose of the prematurely aged flag? Like, by burning it?

Seriously, how does one dispose of a flag?

Re:Excellent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6369119)

yes, you are supposed to burn the flag when it is not in good condition.

For more information, google is your friend.

Re:Excellent. (1)

usotsuki (530037) | about 11 years ago | (#6369139)

I'm not sure whether it's the VFW or the American Legion, take it to one of them and they will give it a proper decommissioning ceremony.

-uso.

Re:Excellent. (0, Flamebait)

tomstdenis (446163) | about 11 years ago | (#6369155)

The most patriotic thing an american can do is live free.

Why must I show a Canadian flag to show how much I embrace democracy?

Personally I think all you flag showing yuppies are simple minded beasts who should be hunted to extinction.

Tom

Re:Excellent. (3, Insightful)

MickLinux (579158) | about 11 years ago | (#6369116)

Actually, I don't consider it bad not to have flown the flag. I don't consider it bad to stand with your fellow citizens. If flying their flag is how they choose to do it, then so be it.

However, I do consider it bad to blindly follow a flag like Roman soldiers following a Roman standard. You really need to look at who is waving that flag before you run off and lynch someone, or kill someone, or help ship them off to Cuba, or invade someone else's country.

Read Stephen King's "Through the Eyes of the Dragon" and "The Stand" if you want to know what he thinks of the Grand Ol' (Randall) Flag (Flagg)

Finally.... (4, Interesting)

Dr Reducto (665121) | about 11 years ago | (#6368878)

Politicians don't like it when they are held to the same standard as everyone else. It will be *really* funny when some unethical "contributions" are discovered. When Politicians see just how bad stuff like this is, maybe they will think twice.

There's a town in Oregon.... (4, Interesting)

JimmytheGeek (180805) | about 11 years ago | (#6368959)

The mayor supported the Chief of Police in defying a Court Order not to troll through people's garbage without a warrant. But when a weekly paper went through THEIR garbage and published their findings (which were pretty banal, nothing spicey) the cop got "hostile" and the mayor went "ballistic"

Both should lose their jobs.

http://www.wweek.com/flatfiles/News3485.lasso

Re:There's a town in Oregon.... (1)

SunPin (596554) | about 11 years ago | (#6369076)

Whatever happened to the journalists? Last I heard, the city was going to prosecute them. If they did, in fact, begin prosecution, it's a safe bet that every government official involved will go into the next life as a frog on deck to become a high school biology experiment.

Re:Finally.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6369033)

"It will be *really* funny when some unethical "contributions" are discovered."

I'm more interested if someone finally gets hold of and publishes info about the oft hinted at but still succesfully suppressed pre-1968 arrest George "the idiot" Bush refuses to come clean about.

People tend to forget something (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6368879)

In a democratic republic, WE are the government. And, if you don't feel you are, take a more active role and make it so.

Re:People tend to forget something (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6368946)

People who donate to political parties are the closest that a regular citizen can get to being the government.
The rest of us just have our one vote.

Re:People tend to forget something (1)

trompete (651953) | about 11 years ago | (#6368957)

That's the great equalizer though: We all have one vote. Regardless of all of the other influences on elections, when it comes down to it, everyone counts the same.

Re:People tend to forget something (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6368974)

Except for the Presidential election. In that, depending on where you live, your vote counts for 1 +/- some amount. And for laws. How many people voted for the DMCA? Wasn't even close to one person, one vote there, because the representatives and senators do not all have an equal number of constituents.

it's a deeply flawed system.

Re:People tend to forget something (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6369002)

Each House member represents roughly the same number of constituents (with obvious rounding because of state borders). Senators represents entire states, not exactly individuals. It's part of being in a federal system. However, in the more local elections (state government, city government, school board), your vote is equal to that of everyone else.

Re:People tend to forget something (1)

rajafarian (49150) | about 11 years ago | (#6369170)

People who donate to political parties are the closest that a regular citizen can get to being the government. The rest of us just have our one vote.

People? Don't you mean corporations?

Re:People tend to forget something (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6368982)

taking that a step further, i'm sure tired of hearing about how the 2001 attacks were against civilians.

as we are the government, the attacks were against the government. it's very simple.

Re:People tend to forget something (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6368997)

We are a republic not democratic republic.

Re:People tend to forget something (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6369036)

Depends where you live. Some states have extremely democratic elements (recall, referendum, and initiatives) as well as direct elections within the state.

Re:People tend to forget something (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6369011)

Precisely what these folks are doing, don't you think?

They're essentially assuming a role that was previously only held by governments-- the role of surveillor and data-gatherer. Much like the cypherpunks who took crypto out of the government's exclusive control, the folks behind GIA are doing something that people outside the government (and a few marketing organizations) have ever done before-- they are closely inspecting, scrutinizing, and analyzing every action of a select group of citizens.

Whether these citizens are regular folks like us, or public figures like John Kerry, the same rules should apply, shouldn't they?

Gee, I think there's a POINT somewhere in all of that...

The government (3, Troll)

xombo (628858) | about 11 years ago | (#6368880)

I think that the government has done way too much for the sake of secrecy against its own citezens. Perhaps they should reconsider much of their classified data, especially that which is not-vital or threatening to the American nation as a whole.
However, personal information should be kept secret. Displaying the data of as many government officials as possible just as "proper compensation" for the data they collect about us is not only unfair to the politicians but unfair to us (how dare them think we would be so stupid). Thousands of politicians vs. millions of people with their data harvested. It's arrogance on the government's part to think such a thing.

Re:The government (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6368912)

yes, "how dare them think we would be so stupid" indeed.

too many pronouns! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6368983)

"Displaying the data of as many government officials as possible just as "proper compensation" for the data they collect about us is not only unfair to the politicians but unfair to us (how dare them think we would be so stupid)."

Huh? who is they? MIT media-lab? the Government?

"Thousands of politicians vs. millions of people with their data harvested. It's arrogance on the government's part to think such a thing."

I'm at a loss here too. What you are saying sounds interesting because its a total mystery

social security numbers of the supreme court (-1, Offtopic)

SHEENmaster (581283) | about 11 years ago | (#6368882)

000-00-0002 through 000-00-0008

Re:social security numbers of the supreme court (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6368907)

000-00-0002 is Mr. Burns' SS number.

true (1)

SHEENmaster (581283) | about 11 years ago | (#6368992)

but just for tax purposes.

1984? (5, Interesting)

jimmer63 (651486) | about 11 years ago | (#6368890)

Did George Orwell ever imagine a world where the populace itself would become the Big Brother of the government? It's 1984 in reverse. Quite ironic really. I wonder how the politicians will react. Increased privacy laws? We'll see. Maybe not in my lifetime though...

Re:1984? (3, Funny)

I don't want to spen (638810) | about 11 years ago | (#6368906)

... It's 1984 in reverse ...

You mean 4891?

Re:1984? (5, Insightful)

Rectum2003 (686009) | about 11 years ago | (#6368941)

This is exactly how should work a democracy. With power comes the duty to be transparent and subject to critic.

how they will react (1)

SHEENmaster (581283) | about 11 years ago | (#6368972)

They have this chip they recovered from a furturistic robot a few years ago, and they reverse engineered it to the point where they could create a nearly sentient machine.

This machine is now in charge of our entire country. It makes laws for us, fires nuclear warheads for us, etc.

Anyways, the chip is pretending to send billions of dollars in foreign aid money while it is really ordering hundreds of millions of pizzas for its cyborg creations.

Coninuing the fine tradition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6368976)

must...mention...1984!

Re:1984? (3, Funny)

Shackleford (623553) | about 11 years ago | (#6369142)

Did George Orwell ever imagine a world where the populace itself would become the Big Brother of the government? It's 1984 in reverse.

I wouldn't go that far. It only seems to be there to allow people to have fairly easy access to information that they can already get from other sources. They'd just need to try harder to get it from those other sources. From the article: GIA allows people to explore data, track events, find patterns and build profiles related to specific government officials or political issues. Information about campaign finance, corporate ties and even religion and schooling can be accessed easily. Real-time alerts can be generated when news of interest is breaking.

So calling it "1984 in reverse" would be too much of an exaggeration. If it actually, were 1984 in reverse, then wouldn't that be funny? Seeing politicians on telescreens, commanding them to do whatever you want to tell them to do.

"Bush! Number 437859! I don't see you touching your toes!" We could've gotten Clinton into shape that way. And I suppose I could make a joke about how Clinton's telescreen would've sometimes been a pornographic broadcast.

SLOGAN FOR FEEDOM! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6368897)

Dig this! I give you this for free! I am a HP-UX admin (I know a lot about Solaris also) and I finally admit that - LINUX IS THE FUTURE! We're living exciting times now!

Yeah, but do they have Em on there? (5, Funny)

Em Emalb (452530) | about 11 years ago | (#6368915)

At first, I thought sure, this'll work, those politicians are too smart to get caught doing their shady stuff out in the open.

Then I realized NO THEY AREN'T.

So, this should be fun. Wonder how long before this site quietly goes away.

Just remember folks, this is the government you are talking about. If they want, they can make you disapp... /NO CARRIER

Some Thouights On Awareness (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6368921)

My favorite monster is the Wolf Man. I like to imagine that the Wolf Man and I are hog farmers, and at the county fair I get to put my hog next to the Wolf Man's hog. Wouldn't you like to put your hog next to the Wolf Man's hog? If not, why not?

Well, that's about all I can think of to say. Except that if people ate with their asses, my wouldn't that be funny? They would have to sit backward in their chairs and stick their butts over the plate and then sit on the food. Then they would wiggle around as they chewed and swallowed it with their asses. Of course, everyone would have their pants down, and it would be funny to watch them trying to engage in casual dinner conversation with their butts squishing around in their plates of food, the air filled with soggy slurping and chomping noises mixed with the occasional fart. And the traditional custom of wiping one's mouth between bites would become a disgusting travesty as everyone wiped their asses with their fancy napkins as though they had just taken a dump. It would certainly make certain scenes in James Bond movies look rather odd also.

And, of course, people would have to learn to wiggle their hips like hula dancers just to be able to chew gum. Smoking would also provide a wealth of visual oddities to be enjoyed -- cigarettes, pipes, and cigars would be stuck up people's assholes and they would blow smoke rings by farting.

The Name (3, Informative)

Valen0 (325388) | about 11 years ago | (#6368929)

The name and concept is supposed to be a spin of the Government's TIA (Terrorist Information Awareness) program that spys on citizens for terrorist activity. More information on TIA is available at DARPA [darpa.mil] and a story [wired.com] that Wired ran.

LINUX IS THE FUTURE! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6368938)

LINUX IS THE FUTURE! Thank you open-source programmers!

Mac Os X (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6368948)

Hehe! After having a conversation with those losers at freebsd IRC channel I knew I was right. Apple is the choice for elite users! Hey, it runs Explorer too!

Great idea.. (4, Insightful)

CokoBWare (584686) | about 11 years ago | (#6368949)

This idea is phenomenal. Finally a way for people to do a search on some meaningful information about their government officials. Hopefully, it will support more government databases in the future, as I believe that there are more than 3,000 government officials in the US.

Unfortunately, I can't search on anything cuz the site just got /.ed ;-)

A Few Thoughts (4, Insightful)

Shackleford (623553) | about 11 years ago | (#6368952)

I actually submitted this article this afternoon. Apparently, it was rejected because another user submitted it. Well, I'm not sure why, exactly. Anyway, I suppose I'll just dicuss a few thoughts that I had after I read the article and checked out the GIA website.

Here, on the 4th of July, Americans have been presented with something that many of them would certainly like to have. Information on the individuals that have power over them. But is it not true that much of the information is available to the general public? The information in the database, which now contains information on more than 3,000 public figures, seems to be accessible enough. It would include information about campaign finance, corporate ties, etc. I suppose that this website would facilitate finding such information, which certainly is good. But it is all information that already seems to be avilable to us, as it can be submitted by people like you and I (and anonymously: good news for those who like to post as ACs here.)

But what I'm sure many people would want is a more open government. One that does not keep as many secrets. One that does not do as much behind our backs. One in which there is less "classified information" although that may be a pipe dream. I understand that much information was removed from sites with the .mil TLD as a cetain terrorist organization was allegedly getting much useful information from it.

But this stil seems to be a good idea. It'll make much information accessible to U.S. citizens, and, perhaps, if nothing else, hold up a mirror to those in power who want as much information on us as possible.

I like it... (5, Interesting)

Whammy666 (589169) | about 11 years ago | (#6368955)

After all, it's supposed to be an open and transparent government despite Dumbya's efforts otherwise. But I wonder if it will survive. Some years ago, video rental outfits leaked a list of porno movies that members of congress and high-ranking justices were watching. Congress instantly passed legislation making it illegal to do that. It seemed that they didn't like people probing their personal viewing and reading habits. However, these same bunch of baffoons have no problem doing the same to Joe Public ala the Patriot Act and TIA.

Keep this in mind in 2004 and vote.

He's not Dumbya, and he's not dumb. (0, Troll)

MickLinux (579158) | about 11 years ago | (#6369106)

If you want to call him Dubija, you can. "Dubija" is a texas-slang "W", which is how he can be identified from his father. But it also carries the connotation of "dubious".

But he isn't dumb, and it's inappropriate to call him Dumbya. If you want a different title, I suggest you use his actual title, based upon the succession:

George III.

Well... (4, Insightful)

Faust7 (314817) | about 11 years ago | (#6368960)

In true foil-hat fashion, I can't help but think that the GIA will only cover a fraction of what our government really does.

If people start using the GIA as a standard for truth, if they say "It's in the GIA, it must be true," then the government will have an incredibly convenient way to encourage the belief in whatever information or misinformation it feels like. This would certainly have more clout than mass media outlets, which obviously have their own credibility issues.

No government tells its citizens everything, and of what it does tell them, it's never the whole truth. What I do hope for from the GIA is at least apparent accountability that, while not touching upon all the madman's deeds that go on in secret subterranean complexes, will at least raise the public consciousness with regard to elected officials and get them (both the public and the officials) to act a little more responsible.

Potential (4, Funny)

Proaxiom (544639) | about 11 years ago | (#6368962)

SELECT name FROM FederalPoliticians WHERE name.bimbo<>name.wife

ROFLMAO U M4DE A SQL FUNNAY! LOLOLROFLMALOLMMORPG! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6368978)

Re:Potential (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6368980)

SELECT name FROM FederalPoliticians WHERE name.bimboname.wife

0 rows returned.

Re:Potential (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6369143)

A more optimized query would just be:

SELECT name FROM FederalPoliticians

Hmmm (2, Funny)

jeffkjo1 (663413) | about 11 years ago | (#6368964)

This project has scant little information on the various politicians I searched for. John Ashcroft's entry [mit.edu] merely has his position, and who appointed him to it. Not to be a conspiracy theorist, but.... CONSPIRACY!
...

In all seriousness though, this actually seems like a good thing, but it needs more meat to fill up the information pages.

site design (1)

MikeApp (151816) | about 11 years ago | (#6368967)

Wow, the site design looks quite a bit like java.sun.com [sun.com] , down to the color of the sidebar border.

Government job (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6368969)

I work for the government and I just fired a guy who was a freebsd enthusiastic! Hehe! It actually felt good. Those people tend to be losers in life. You just got to face the facts. I didn't mean to be no mean.

Cryptome.org (3, Informative)

ManDude (231569) | about 11 years ago | (#6368979)

cryptome.org [cryptome.org] is a good site as well. It isn't the easiest site to get around, but its comprehensive. Maybe there can be a marriage of the two. It would be beautiful.

Taking Any Bets? (2, Interesting)

Coffee Warlord (266564) | about 11 years ago | (#6368986)


If this takes off, how long you think it'll last online before the gov't declares it a 'terrorist informational tool' and starts (pardon the pun) terrorizing the masterminds of this one?

Helluva idea, but I have a feeling it'll highly piss off our lovely government.

Re:Taking Any Bets? (1)

Ella the Cat (133841) | about 11 years ago | (#6369109)

  • Terrorist Informational Tool
  • Government Informational Tool
  • Secure Homeland Information Tool

Skip the happiness and look at the website... (2, Informative)

shivianzealot (621339) | about 11 years ago | (#6368989)

I must say, this site is rather tame. Age, place of birth, religion... its all really only information one might find in an encyclopedia. This is hardly intrusive, though a happy step forward. Perhaps my fellow commenters would care to post some ideas regarding new "features?"

anonymous contributions - how well will it work? (5, Insightful)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | about 11 years ago | (#6368991)

According to the wired article, information about politicians is posted anonymously, and the politician always has a chance to refute the claim. The claim and the reply are always kept together, no information is removed.

There is system to rank the credability of the contributors to keep things in check, similar to epinions' trustworthiness ranking system.

However, this could still be open to widespread abuse with a coordinated effort. A person posting a comment could be backed up by hundreds of people vouching for his or her integrity, and even if the politician replies denying the claim, the damage is already done, which is the whole point behind a smear campaign.

The lesson is, be weary of all information you receive from anywhere. Everything is suspect and most of the details of information you receive about things you did not witness in first person is probably 90% incorrect. Did you ever do that experiment in school where you whisper a phrase around in a circle of people and by the time it comes back to you it's completely different?

It will be interesting to see how this page plays out, to see if it is compromised by hundreds or thousands of people with an ajenda. It's hard to pick up on subtle slanting of information until it's too late.

"In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies." -- Winston Churchill

---Mike

Re:anonymous contributions - how well will it work (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6369065)

Hell, that's being nice!

Why are they letting the government refute anything? We can't refute what TIA says about us, because we can't even SEE what it says about us.

I say let 'em hang.

Re:anonymous contributions - how well will it work (3, Insightful)

MagikSlinger (259969) | about 11 years ago | (#6369085)

It will be interesting to see how this page plays out, to see if it is compromised by hundreds or thousands of people with an agenda. It's hard to pick up on subtle slanting of information until it's too late.

That's why the ACLU is opposed to TIA and the infamous TIPS program.

Re:anonymous contributions - how well will it work (1)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | about 11 years ago | (#6369126)

> That's why the ACLU is opposed to TIA and the infamous TIPS program.


exactly, it's like having neighbors informing on each other. How many will be honest and how many will use it for a vendetta?


The U.S., as a function of population percentage has more people in prison now than the Soviet Union did at the height of power.

Proofreaders? (5, Funny)

Two99Point80 (542678) | about 11 years ago | (#6368996)

Looks like the fact-checking needs a little work, as shown here [mit.edu] ...

Good. (4, Insightful)

nepheles (642829) | about 11 years ago | (#6369000)

This is an excellent idea, and one which deserves to do well. The delicate system of checks-and-balances has been become skewed of late, and our privacy has been steadily eroded.

The balance needs correcting, and this is a good way to set about it, by affecting the decision-makers personally.

Not Very Deep (4, Informative)

ipour (177686) | about 11 years ago | (#6369027)

I like the premise, but this is a very superficial first effort. The site is slow, and you can get just about all of the same information at www.firstgov.gov. Knowing several public officials, I tried to use the site to see just what dirt I could dig up. I have to say I was pretty disappointed. I couldn't even get an official bio on all but the most prominent elected officials.

If TIA does nothing more than this, then we have very little to worry about.

Re:Not Very Deep (1)

luugi (150586) | about 11 years ago | (#6369070)


If TIA does nothing more than this, then we have very little to worry about.


With the added exposure (slashdot). The site will grow to be a lot more detailed.

Webpage Login (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6369051)

So, they log your IP and show it to you at the top of the page, and you have to login to a page called "tracker" if you want to download "it"

I quote "it" because I'm not sure what they have available for download, but I thought it might be handy to have a copy of the db in case it gets shut down.

Even if these guys are benign, and I'm sure they are. Their data could easily be seized by the government when it forms it's case against them.

*shrug*

You can take that with a big tinfoil hat if you like, but if the data is supposed to be freely available, it should be really freely available.

Open secrets (4, Interesting)

poptones (653660) | about 11 years ago | (#6369061)

I saw this last night and thought of submitting it, but after looking it over I blew it off because all it seems to be is a differently organized mirror of the opensecrets.org website. Every single "fact" I found was collected from there.

One thing I did find interesting was looking at campaign contributions. The amount of money behind Liddy Dole and Hillary Clinton is fucking astounding. More then Ed Kennedy, more than Fritz Hollings - more than anyone else I looked at (and I looked at many).

aside from campaign money there's just not that much there. No corporate holdings (which would be a helluva lot more interesting than donations), no special interest alliances - not much of nothing.

Model (2, Funny)

heli0 (659560) | about 11 years ago | (#6369063)

If you read about the data collection method [mit.edu] it seems that they are creating a database that is a cross between what you could find on google and information submitted by anyone ala IndyMedia.

Hopefully it results in solid information and not this [indymedia.org] type [indymedia.org] .

This type? (1)

poptones (653660) | about 11 years ago | (#6369160)

Why would you hope that? I could probably find more dirt on Hillary Clinton by hitting the drudge site than I could via this open secrets mirror. If this site is to serve as an open dossier on our politicos I would hope it would have exactly this sort of information - from all sides of the spectrum.

the humour here is... (2, Insightful)

chef_raekwon (411401) | about 11 years ago | (#6369064)

the humour is this: in the US, or any "democratic" state these days, the people ARE the government. An elected official should *in theory* be there for the people who elected him/her. So, because the official represents the people, the people, again *in theory* should make sure the official has full reports of his/her doing. Ie - no hidden secrets....

why then, are there secrets in Government?

i think it has something to do with money, business, and money....(and maybe money)
what do the US citizens feel about this, seeing as how they are the pentultimate of Democracy?

Barry White, soul singer, dead at 58 (-1, Offtopic)

stud9920 (236753) | about 11 years ago | (#6369084)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - crooner Barry White was found dead in Cedars-Sinai Medical this morning. There weren't any more details.

I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to "make out" music.

Truly an American icon.

Not sure what the point is... (2, Interesting)

mick88 (198800) | about 11 years ago | (#6369087)

Seems to me that this database could only provide information that we already know... cause when someone does something really stupid like get a DUI or smoke up, it makes it into the news right away anyway.

Yeah, maybe with this database we can get credit card reciepts or ISP logs... what does that prove? that gov. employees watch porn or drink booze?? oh wait - so does everyone else.

BFD, I say.

Obligatory Zero-Wing Reference (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6369101)

In A.D. 2003, war was beginning.

GWB: What happen?

JA: Somebody set up us a website.

GWB: We get e-mail.

JA: Outlook Express turn on.

MIT: How are you gentlemen?

MIT: All your information are belong to us.

GWB: What you say?

MIT: You are on the way to major scandals.

MIT: You have no chance to deny cocaine use allegations, make your time.

GWB: For great justice, take off every DDoS attack!

That's Nice, Except For One Thing (3, Insightful)

PingXao (153057) | about 11 years ago | (#6369117)

The premise of GIA is that if the government has a right to know personal details about citizens, then citizens have a right to similar information about the government.

This is all fine and dandy except for one small thing: the government does not have a right to know personal details about citizens with the force of Big Brother's dream come true: TIA. I think it would be more beneficial to channel the energy that goes into GIA into making sure we elect leaders who will kill TIA before it really gets rolling. And un-electing those who permitted it to be born in the first place. Besides, if Big Brother has anything to say about it, this MIT Media Lab project will last only until the first time MIT is unexpectedly denied a government research grant or contract.

I bet the Government can't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6369147)

stop us from Destroying the evidence!! [bozogotstoned.com]

Re:I bet the Government can't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6369156)

Umm, that link didn't work, I think you meant THIS [bozogotstoned.com]

Disawareness? (1)

tony1c (610261) | about 11 years ago | (#6369153)

Seems to me that one possible way to counter "awareness" (assuming you'd want to) would be to pollute the databases. So if bankruptcies and multiple homicide convictions started showing up routinely and inappropriately in the databases checks, it might discredit the whole system. I don't really have that much of an issue with the current state of things, I just have an academic curiosity about whether it's possible or not to defeat or marginalize "awareness", and whether it's been tried.

Move along please, nothing to see here.... (1)

theskipper (461997) | about 11 years ago | (#6369157)

Sen. "Call me Ahnold" Hatch already terminated their systems.
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