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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Are you a terrorist suspect?

You might be, and you'd never know it.

Over at the other roost, this mapgie's blogmate Mary has an excellent post on the TALON database run by the US Defense Department. Under the guise of protecting the country from terrorism, the database is accumulating information — much of it wrong — about thousands of American. Or maybe hundreds of thousands. Or millions. Since the program is secret, no one really knows.

Once of the things I found scariest is how easy it is to get your name into the database:

The Pentagon also now has a toll-free number for citizens to report suspicious activity directly to the military. The number of the hotline is 1-800-CALL-SPY:

You have reached the U.S. Army Call Spy hotline. You may remain anonymous. Please leave a detailed message of the incident you wish to report. Your call is important. If you wish to be contacted, please leave your name and telephone number. If this is an emergency, please contact your local office of the F.B.I. Thank you.

Yes, I called the number and it's for real. And no, I didn't give them your name. But I did have to wait for three rings before the hotline answered, which was more than long enough for the feds to know which phone number I was calling from.

Go over and read all of Mary's TALON post, and then go visit the website for PBS' NOW program, where you'll find much more info about TALON here.

The ACLU has more details on how the government is spying on US residents here.

| | Posted by Magpie at 3:59 PM | Get permalink




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