Almost every day in the news there's something that causes me, for just a second, to lose my breath and wonder, have I dozed off and found myself in some strange dream based on George Orwells 1984?
Today, the Associated Press reported on a system that the US government maintains in which a federal agent will basically arbitrarily assign a score that assesses their risk for being a terrorist or a criminal. They will then keep this rating on file for the next FOURTY YEARS. We, as the voting public, are forbidden from accessing this information. For national security reasons, of course, because naturally "for the protection of the people and the state" certain things must be done, right?
Your terrorist/criminal score is explained by the AP as follows:
The scores are assigned to people entering and leaving the United States after computers assess their travel records, including where they are from, how they paid for tickets, their motor vehicle records, past one-way travel, seating preference and what kind of meals they ordered.
The Homeland Security Department notice called it "one of the most advanced targeting systems in the world" and said U.S. ability to spot criminals and other security threats "would be critically impaired without access to this data."
The next time you fly to/from/around the US, bear this in mind as the immigration/customs/security person gives you a second look after checking their computer screen.