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FBI is buying data from private sector.

By jester69 in News
Sun Apr 15, 2001 at 02:07:22 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)

I ran across a story at Slashdot that pointed to this MSNBC article. What the article basically says is that the FBI is now buying acess to a database that brings together information from things such as your credit report, public records, buying habits, web surfing habits etc.

The article piqued my curiosity and I surfed to the only link in the article www.cpfbi.com and found no information there. Then through a bit of digging I found the companies homepage. www.cdb.com

The whole site kind of gave me the willies, But the most troubling aspect of the whole site, and it is very troubling, is that you cannot opt out.
Can I opt-out of CDB Infotek's databases?
No. CDB Infotek only serves legitimate businesses and government agencies that have an appropriate need for the information we report. Since CDB Infotek does not have subscribers that are governed by IRSG Principle V(C), we do not allow individuals to "opt-out" of our databases.

Now, the language of this says they get to decide who has an appropriate use for my information, not myself. This troubles me. According to the 4th amendment the government cannot search me either without a warrant or without my consent. Is it legal for them to make an end run around this by having a private corporation do the dirty work? I have given neither consent nor has the government obtained any sort of warrant for this information. If I have inadvertently given consent for this information to be shared with the FBI I would like to rescind that consent but am not being given the option.

Everyone has for years spoken of George Orwell's famous book 1984. In case you have been in a hole, this book is about a society where everything you say or do and everywhere you go is tracked under a microscope.

But people have, as of late, been claiming big brother cannot happen because of our laws, such as the Privacy Act of 1974 mentioned in the MSNBC article, prevent the government from compiling this information. They have claimed that "little brother" is a bigger threat, defining little brother as Corporate buying and selling of our data.

Well, it looks to me as if little brother is growing up. I have long said Mr. Orwell was off by about 20 years, I'd say by 2004 his book will resemble life in the USA a bit too closely for my tastes. Apparently, even if it is technically illegal for the government to compile and store information on law abiding citizens, they seem to have figured out how to smash the spirit of the law quite handily.

The Jester, 69


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
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Do you think the FBI has overstepped its boundaries here?
o We all know the government will get this stuff anyway, who cares. 7%
o No. I hate bad people and this will only hurt them 0%
o No. I dont break the law, so who cares who knows. 1%
o Maybe. I'm not sure what exactly is going on 5%
o Yes. I think they are out of line. 17%
o Yes. I believe this to be an outrage and illegal. 46%
o The FBI who are they, some sort of musical group for the kids? 5%
o I'm too busy trying to fight off alien death rays, leave me alone. 14%

Votes: 67
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Slashdot
o Slashdot [2]
o this MSNBC article
o www.cpfbi. com
o www.cdb.co m
o Can I opt-out of CDB Infotek's databases?
o Also by jester69

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FBI is buying data from private sector. | 27 comments (8 topical, 19 editorial, 0 hidden)
What's more dangerous ? (4.00 / 3) (#4)
by mami on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 12:03:14 PM EST

The databases in the hands of commercial entities like corporations or in the hands of the government ? And if you prefer one over the other, why ?

I think they are more dangerous in the hands of commercial entities, because I don't believe that an individual has more power and influence over the economy than it has over the government.

I believe that the government I am priviledged to elect freely and democratically (if you happen to live in a country where the constutional system really provides that), is more under my control than the evolution of global technological and commercial trends.

Actually the most dangerous thing seems to be, if they are in the hands of both, government and corporations feeding each other's legitimate existence, without regards of the freedom and independence of the individual citizen. If they don't function anymore as a check and balance for each other to protect our best interests, we seem to be caught in the perfect "web".

Who is more to blame ? Any thoughts ?

Here's a question (1.42 / 7) (#6)
by Elendale on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 12:48:23 PM EST

What if you don't live in the US?


When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.

4th Amendment (4.50 / 4) (#10)
by Bad Harmony on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 02:37:31 PM EST

Private citizens are not subject to the 4th amendment. If your maid finds 50 kilos of heroin in your closet, and calls the police, you're screwed. What the Government can't do is to use a private citizen as a proxy to avoid getting a search warrant. The local DEA agent can't give your maid $100 and ask her to search the house for illegal drugs.


5440' or Fight!

Right, But which one applies here? (4.33 / 3) (#11)
by jester69 on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 02:58:24 PM EST

I guess what really made me think about this whole story is the exact point you make.

If one could opt-out, then the example of being an informant being well within their rights would seem to fit.

However, they are being paid (and handsomely) to ferret out this information without the aid of the governments rules. This would seem to be closer to your second example. Especially since we are not being given the option to "uninvite" them. We can fire the maid and change the locks, but these people will tell us they already got in so we can go to heck for all they care. They kind of climbed in a window if you ask me, but I digress.

But (everyone who hates IANAL things, shut your eyes and hum) I am not a legal expert. I am hoping that someone with a better understaning of the fourth amendment may chime in and explain the finer points for the benifit of all.

take care,

the jester, 69

Its a lemming thing, Jeep owners would understand.
[ Parent ]
Timing is everything (5.00 / 1) (#21)
by Miniluv on Sun Apr 15, 2001 at 12:11:20 AM EST

It is my understanding that currently the government purchases the existing records from this corporate entitity and sees what use they can make from them. Or they request specific existing records in relation to their current needs.

The above scenarios would be the same as the maid finding my heroin stash, rather than the DEA paying her to look. If, however, the government says to the corporate entity they want certain data and are willing to pay before the data is collected the 4th amendment would come into play.

I'll accept the inherited IANAL from both of the parent comments because they apply, however I do want to believe my reasoning makes sense.

"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]

Funny, in a way (3.00 / 1) (#14)
by regeya on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 05:29:29 PM EST

This is why I laugh every time someone brings up the subject of cookies and bemoans cookies as the most evil method of tracking customers. These private-sector databases have been around for years, and to be blunt, I've not heard of this particular company until recently. Heck, an acquaintance of mine used to work for Lexus-Nexus(sp) and all he'd say about the company is that it's "Big Brother." All sorts of fun data, if you can afford it.

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]

telnet://telnet.cdb.com/ (none / 0) (#20)
by J'raxis on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 09:29:27 PM EST

Not only does CDB collect people's data, they also seem to allow their "users" to connect and view their collected data through telnet...

-- The ssh(1) Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]

How to deal with Big Brother (none / 0) (#23)
by fluffy grue on Sun Apr 15, 2001 at 03:42:26 AM EST

One of the recent Exposure shorts is worth a watch - it's called Me and the Big Guy, by Matt Nix. If you can bring yourself to watch something in RealVideo format, it's definitely worth it.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

FBI is buying data from private sector. | 27 comments (8 topical, 19 editorial, 0 hidden)
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