Who created the Police State? Military code = Able Danger
Erik Kleinsmith was a military data mining expert, in the US Army, who may have accidentally created the technology for a surveillance state. Working under the code name Able Danger, Kleinsmith breached the US military’s own laws regarding privacy in an attempt to map Al Qaeda’s global footprint, (Harris, 2010).
Kliensmith collected information on thousands of American citizens – including prominent government officials and politicians during their massive data sweeps. Good guys and bad guys were all in the same mix, there was no effective way to sort it all out.
Army lawyers put him on notice: Under military regulations Kleinsmith could only store his intelligence for ninety days if it contained references to US persons. Even the inadvertent capture of such information amounted to domestic spying. Kleinsmith could go to jail.
What did he create?
Kliensmith vacuumed up the Internet connections, then ran it though a filter, a visualisation tool. The tool plotted a small point on a graphic map. Then the tool created peaks, signalling a high concentration of documents.
What was wrong with that?
His techniques breached every privacy law on the books.
Regulation 5240 is the guardrail against domestic spying by the military. The US government had been down this road before. The FBI set up covert spying operations, and other “hostile” groups, including political opponents. Critical journalists ended up on enemies lists, their phones tapped and finances investigated.
As Kleinsmith harvested thousands of web pages, thousands of innocent US citizens were captured in the maze. They were innocent bystanders. They were not helping the Chinese, their connections to potential targets being coincidental. Only a duly authorised warrant, could allow an intelligence agency to build files on US citizens.
Kliensmith’s methods were shut down repeatedly – so he knew this was a privacy breach.
911 changed all that. The military uphold the premise that they could have detected and stopped 911, and that societies privacy breaches are a small price to pay for our safety. However, a premise is not truth, it’s often just a belief, unsupported by facts.
I believe this premise is faulty. 911 could not have been detected or stopped. Therefore the constant privacy breaches, that remove the guardrail on domestic spying, are too high a price to pay.
No civilian will support a Police State. We’ve seen this in East Germany and the Gulags of Russia.
When civilians will cease to support the country, society dies at it’s core.
Therefore I could put forward a premise, that constant surveillance will destroy a country, by destroying the morale of it’s people.
Finally, we return to the immortal words of Thomas Jefferson….
“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground. This is so because those who gain positions of power tend always to extend the bounds of it. Power must always be constrained or limited else it will increase to the level that it will be despotic.
Hence the Guardrails of DOD 5240 must remain in place – to protect civilians from the military.
These guardrails of Privacy keep democracy safe.