Feeds

George Bush fingered as terrorist by US feds ...

Well, maybe

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.