Feeds

US gov's ‘ultimate database’ run by a felon

300 million ghosts in the machine

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

We all know that truth is stranger than fiction, and here we have an apparently real item straight from the realm of Tom Clancy. Imagine a huge, absolutely huge, central database containing both the official and commercial data of every single citizen, run by the US military ostensibly for anti-terror and Homeland Security purposes, and all of it under the direction of a convicted felon.

Well the database is in development and coming soon, according to the New York Times; and the felon who will run it is disgraced Reagan administration liar, dirty-trickster and cover-uper Admiral John M. Poindexter, who Dubya has taken out of mothballs to keep us all safe from dreadful evildoers.

Poindexter got caught up in a little Federal crime spree called Iran-Contra a decade ago, stood trial and was convicted, but managed to escape responsibility on an odd technicality.

As told succinctly by FAS.org, Poindexter was "Indicted March 16, 1988, on seven felony charges. After standing trial on five charges, Poindexter was found guilty April 7, 1990, on all counts: conspiracy (obstruction of inquiries and proceedings, false statements, falsification, destruction and removal of documents); two counts of obstruction of Congress and two counts of false statements.

District Judge Harold H. Greene sentenced Poindexter June 11, 1990, to six months in prison on each count, to be served concurrently. A three-judge appeals panel on November 15, 1991, reversed the convictions on the ground that Poindexter's immunized testimony may have influenced the trial testimony of witnesses. The Supreme Court on December 7, 1992, declined to review the case. In 1993, the indictment was dismissed on the motion of Independent Counsel."

Now he's in charge of the newly-invented Information Awareness Office, a part of that mixed bag of good and bad, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and he's got his eye on basically every scrap of data about every single citizen. The system Poindy is preparing to unleash on us "will provide intelligence analysts and law enforcement officials with instant access to information from Internet mail and calling records to credit card and banking transactions and travel documents, without a search warrant," the NYT article says.

And he's in no way embarrassed by his role ensuring that the US military and federal law enforcement and intelligence spooks can quite conveniently spy on the populace. He's said openly that the US government "needs to 'break down the stovepipes' that separate commercial and government databases," the article says.

Poindexter joins a slew of Reagan-era retreads and Iran-Contra alumni now operating brazenly in Dubya's bureaucracy. No doubt he feels quite comfortable among such familiar company, though I doubt I could say the same for the rest of us. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
Bose says today IS F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.