Feeds

George Bush fingered as terrorist by US feds ...

Well, maybe

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

A Texas-based software company is offering a free tool allowing web users to check the likelihood of a particular name being flagged up by US government's Transportation Safety Administration (TSA), the body which operates the infamous "No Fly" list.

Lists of terrorist names have circulated widely in recent months, and it has also been reported by the Washington Post among others that various US agencies use the Soundex algorithm to assess names. Soundex-based software can be used to search a list of names – for example, an airline passenger list – and throw up possible matches. For example, "Osama" might be read by Soundex to match against "Osama", "Osamu" or "Osman." Thus, if any of those three names appeared on a passenger list – especially in combination with a surname such as "bin Laden" or "Binladen" the chance of the feds taking an interest would be high.

Engineers at S3 Matching Technologies have put together their own Soundex-based engine and loaded in "a compilation of the best available data regarding suspected and known terrorists. Publicly available terrorist names from various reliable government and non-governmental sources were merged to create a comprehensive list." They claim that their website list is constantly updated, just like the TSA's. Users can put in any name they like. If both first and last names throw up a red terrorist-related connection, S3 reckon there's a sporting chance that an individual with that name will be on the TSA's Watch List.

S3 are providing this service so as to publicise their alternative to Soundex, a proprietary system called TeraMatch. S3 naturally consider their kit to be much more accurate and less likely to throw up false positives.

El Reg has naturally tested a few obvious names on the site. Ones which throw up a both-names indication of terrorist links include "George Bush", "Tony Blair," and interestingly, "Gordon Brown", Britain's chancellor of the exchequer. Names which seem to be in the clear include "Oliver North" and "Hugo Chavez".

Either the terrorist conspiracy has gone deeper than anyone could have thought, or the American feds have gone loco, or perhaps the S3 guys are over-egging the pudding just a tad. Maybe all of the above. ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.