Feeds

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

300 million ghosts in the machine

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.