Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Wirefarm : Heather Mac Donald's Case Against privacy

Wirefarm : Heather Mac Donald's Case Against privacy:

"Data Mining in this sense is the computer equivalent of police racial profiling, (which, oddly enough, she tries to justify in her book Are Cops Racist?,) where the rights of an individual become secondary to a cop's 'gut instincts'. She's a favorite of law enforcement for playing the Devil's advocate in cases like the police killing of Amadou Diallo or Abner Louima, who police sodomized with a broom handle.)
The first time I became aware of the term Data Mining was around 1992. I was living in Boston's Fenway, in a neat old brownstone with iron gargoyles out front. One day, I got a letter from a bank, demanding that I pay up on an old debt of $3,000. The trouble was, the debt wasn't mine.
I called the number provided and spoke to a very insistent man who demanded I pay soon, as the debt was very old. 'How old?' I asked.
From 1969.
I explained that I was three years old in 1969 and he laughed and mentioned that this was happening a lot, ever since they were using a new 'Data Mining' program that matched up names and addresses with other databases they had access to. Had I not been three when the debt was incurred, I would have had a harder time laughing off the charges.