[Hpn] Personal Privacy the chimera, as told to John Poindexter
Tue, 17 Dec 2002 11:32:44 -0500
--------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Mr.Liberal" <email@example.com>
Keeping Track of John Poindexter By Paul Boutin
Story location: http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,56860,00.html
02:00 AM Dec. 14, 2002 PT
The head of the government's Total Information Awareness project, which
aims to root out potential terrorists by aggregating credit-card,
medical, school and other records of everyone in the United States, has
himself become a target of personal data profiling.
Online pranksters, taking their lead from a San Francisco journalist,
publishing John Poindexter's home phone number, photos of his house and
other personal information to protest the TIA program.
Matt Smith, a columnist for SF Weekly, printed the material -- which he
says is all publicly available -- in a recent column: "Optimistically, I
dialed John and Linda Poindexter's number -- (301) 424-6613 -- at their
home at 10 Barrington Fare in Rockville, Md., hoping the good admiral
excused criminal might be able to offer some insight," Smith wrote.
"Why, for example, is their $269,700 Rockville, Md., house covered with
artificial siding, according to Maryland tax records? Shouldn't a Reagan
conspirator be able to afford repainting every seven years? Is the
Douglas Poindexter listed in Maryland sex-offender records any relation
to the good admiral? What do Tom Maxwell, at 8 Barrington Fare, and
Galvin, at 12 Barrington Fare, think of their spooky neighbor?"
Smith said he wrote the column to demonstrate the sense of violation he
felt over his personal records being profiled by secretive government
"I needed to call Poindexter anyway, and it seemed like a worthy concept
that if he's going to be compiling data that most certainly will leak
around to other departments and get used, one way to get readers to
about it was to turn that around," Smith said.
What Smith didn't realize was that Poindexter's phone number and other
information would end up on more than 100 Web pages a week later as
others took up the cause.
Phone-phreaking hackers supplied details on the Verizon switch serving
the admiral's home. The popular Cryptome privacy-issues website posted
satellite photos of the house.
Poindexter could not be reached for comment for this story, and calls to
his home phone now reach a recording: "The party you are calling is not
available at this time."
Since the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency began awarding
contracts for the Total Information Awareness project in August, the
effort has been criticized by both civil rights advocates and
The dispute over TIA seems to fall not along straight political party
lines, but between advocates and opponents of the government's right to
monitor its own citizens. Former President Clinton expressed support for
the project in a recent public appearance, while conservative New York
Times columnist William Safire recently wrote a pointed editorial
criticizing the idea.
One Bush voter, speaking on condition of anonymity, said of the pranks
Poindexter: "If they're making him as uncomfortable as we are, good."
the S.W.Liberal free from the corporate media
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