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The Almighty Buck

Data Mining, Cocaine and Secrecy 471

hightimes writes: "Business 2.0 uncovers one of the world's most sophisticated IT network in where else, Colombia. According to the story, Colombian drug cartels have spent billions of dollars to build a huge infrastructure that's helping them smuggle more dope than ever before." Even though this is about a raid that took place most of a decade ago, it's an interesting example of the power (and potential abuse) of large-scale data mining.
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Data Mining, Cocaine and Secrecy

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  • Well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 02, 2002 @06:46PM (#3811100)

    Hey, are they hiring?

    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Funny)

      by warpSpeed ( 67927 ) <slashdot@fredcom.com> on Tuesday July 02, 2002 @07:44PM (#3811459) Homepage Journal
      Prolly, but I'm sure it would be a life time career move. And if you screw up, a PHB is the least of your concerns, you'll be sleeping with the fishes.

    • Re:Well... (Score:2, Funny)

      by unicron ( 20286 )
      Our wonder if it's really fair for them to ask for a drugtest....

      Drug Lord: "You tested positive for coke."
      Applicant: "Yeah, but I bought it from you."
      Drug Lord: "Oh, well then, welcome aboard."

      On another note, what does this remind you of?

      "So one day I help some gentlemen make a few free phone calls...."
    • Seriously... when I saw this I thought "COOL!" because I've decided to take the plunge in getting a Network Admin degree.

      Imagine the perks.....

  • Computers (Score:2, Funny)

    by ChrisMG999 ( 308536 )
    What were they trying to do? Send cocaine over Cat5 Cabling?
    • by GodInHell ( 258915 ) on Tuesday July 02, 2002 @06:50PM (#3811126) Homepage
      What were they trying to do? Send cocaine over Cat5 Cabling?

      Heh, Packet sniffing takes on whole new dimensions.

      -GiH
      A goose is loose in the sluce for juice.
    • Excerpt:

      "...the cartel had assembled a database that contained both the office and residential telephone numbers of U.S. diplomats and agents based in Colombia, along with the entire call log for the phone company in Cali, which was leaked by employees of the utility. The mainframe was loaded with custom-written data-mining software. It cross-referenced the Cali phone exchange's traffic with the phone numbers of American personnel and Colombian intelligence and law enforcement officials....
      ...the system fingered at least a dozen informants, [who] were swiftly assassinated by the cartel."

      That was in 1994. They've become more sophisticated since then.
  • Dopewars (Score:5, Funny)

    by akiy ( 56302 ) on Tuesday July 02, 2002 @06:50PM (#3811133) Homepage
    And you thought all of those hours you spent playing Dopewars were all just a simulation...

    (Dopewars: Unix [sourceforge.net], Palm [pdaguy.com], Macintosh [likelysoft.com], and Windows [dopewars.org] versions.)

    • Re:Dopewars (Score:3, Informative)

      by zerocool^ ( 112121 )
      I remember playing this on my TI-85 calculator...

      I found a TI-86 version here [tripod.com].

      ~Will
    • At least on the Palm; I've tried it on the other 3 platforms and didn't like any of those versions. But it's great to be standing in an elevator or sitting at a meeting and clicking your PDA madly looking like you're working, when really you're buying heroin in Brooklyn and selling it in the Bronx!

      BTW - my current high score is 164,737,425 :)

    • And you thought all of those hours you spent playing Dopewars were all just a simulation...

      Would you (sniff) like to play a (sniff sniff snort) game?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 02, 2002 @06:52PM (#3811146)
    They'll have to buy a client license for every drug user they supply. That should promptly clean out their "unlimited" budget.
  • What a Joke (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 02, 2002 @06:53PM (#3811152)
    The United States should really put a stop to the ludicrous, expensive and entirely ineffective "War on Drugs". Especially before going off half-cocked on another ludicrous, expensive and entirely ineffective "War on Terrorism". What a joke.
    • Re:What a Joke (Score:2, Insightful)

      by visualight ( 468005 )
      Think of the article as a press release direct from the DEA. The whole time I was reading the article I was thinking how much it sounded like justification for increasing the budget for DEA operations in South America. As if tripling or even quadrupling the budget would change anything except my taxes.

      I'm so sick of the drug war. Mostly sick of spending money on it.
      • Re:What a Joke (Score:2, Interesting)

        by beatbox ( 576854 )
        I'm so sick of the drug war. Mostly sick of spending money on it.

        I'm mostly sick of how it keeps sending peaceful, totally non-violent people to criminal school, er... prison, where they either waste their lives away, or end up being "reformed" into real criminals.

        lame, lame, lame...

        ben

    • I agree with you all, but I'd like to see the cartel leaders strung up by the testicles first. It's hard to imagine a more depraved group of individuals. Sure, the War on Drugs has been awful for the US and Columbia, but this doesn't change the fact that the big drug distributors are genuinely evil. They do not operate in a "free market", they will kill anyone who gets in their way. We ought to be looking at peaceful solutions in Columbia, but only for the "little guys". The gangsters should be shot, quickly.

      Of course, by my standards if we bust the cartels we should probably bust Shell Oil and Unocal as well. *sigh*...
  • Article Revealing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stoolpigeon ( 454276 ) <bittercode@gmail> on Tuesday July 02, 2002 @06:56PM (#3811172) Homepage Journal
    The so-called Santacruz computer was never returned to Colombian authorities, and the DEA's report about it is highly classified. But Business 2.0 has ferreted out many of its details.

    It must not have been too highly classified. It it was and some internet magazine can figure it out then you have to wonder if this data mining system was overkill. They say it was used to find moles and then the undercover agents would be assasinated. Personally I wouldn't want to be an agent for some agency that can't keep this kind of stuff under wraps.

    There are times when keeping things secret is a good thing. Our government seems incapable of doing so most of the time. (on a side note this is why I don't buy into most conspiracy theories-- the govt. is way too inefficient at keeping things quiet)

    • (on a side note this is why I don't buy into most conspiracy theories-- the govt. is way too inefficient at keeping things quiet)

      That's just what they want you to think... ;)

    • by JoeBuck ( 7947 ) on Tuesday July 02, 2002 @07:28PM (#3811371) Homepage

      When you read an article like this, the first thing you should be considering is what the agenda is. The DEA probably leaked the info on purpose, perhaps to try to promote its agenda of getting more money for the Colombian drug wars.

      Whenever you see a story in the press quoting anonymous sources or leaks, remember that the sources and leakers have an axe to grind.

  • by Audent ( 35893 ) <(moc.stiucsibevoli) (ta) (tnedua)> on Tuesday July 02, 2002 @07:00PM (#3811199) Homepage
    I'd be sceptical about any claims in this piece about "highly classified documents"... surely this is something the guys in grey suits would love to see as it gives them the perfect ammunition to enact all kinds of new and exciting laws. Buying a router? register with your local cop shop. Using an IP address? register with your local cop shop... Here in NZ we're getting new laws to deal with criminals using technology because apparently it's going to be a big issue one day. One day. I asked how many crimes were committed using text messaging or email and the answer is: none. Not one. Which begs the question: why are these laws necessary yet? It's not like govts have a good track record on being pro-active when it comes to legislation so why this time?
    I know I'm preaching to the choir here ... well, some of you anyway.
  • [The IT system] is a major reason that cocaine shipments to the United States from Colombia hit an estimated 450 tons last year

    How the heck do people find the time, money and inclination to stick 450 tons of that crap up their noses in a year!?

    Not to mention the fact that it could be many times that amount once it is cut and sold.

    • How the heck do people find the time, money and inclination to stick 450 tons of that crap up their noses in a year!?

      I don't think it's all one person...
      • How the heck do people find the time, money and inclination to stick 450 tons of that crap up their noses in a year!?

        I don't think it's all one person...

        It would explain the diehard defenders of the Criminal Republican Criminal Party Criminals.

        Crack Whores will say anything for their next fix.
  • That's nothing (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cbare ( 313467 )
    A database? That's nothing. I read in the L.A. times last year that they had discovered a half-built military class submarine out in the columbian jungle.
  • Interesting... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by codewolf ( 239827 ) on Tuesday July 02, 2002 @07:10PM (#3811262) Homepage
    It's interesting that a drug cartel could have the imagination, foresight, and intelligence to set up a mole hunting operation to ferret out informants, but the US government can't catch spies this quickly or effeciently [muskingum.edu]. Makes me wonder if such types of operations could have assisted in detering terrorist attacks, or if they are used for other illicit purposes within the US itself.
    • Part of that is probably because the U.S. Government actually does make some attempt to respect the privacy of the people living there. The drug dealers were (according to the article, at least) only able to do this because they got complete call logs from the phone company. The U.S. Government can't just go around tracking down everyone's calling habits without a good reason.

      As a previous poster said [slashdot.org] about the government's inability to keep this secret, this is probably an indication about their tendency to monitor people's habits. If the cocaine cartel can find moles just by looking at who people were calling, just think about what the NSA could do if they actually listened in to every phone call. How could organized crime survive if the government really was listening in to everything that everyone says on the phone?

    • It's interesting that a drug cartel could have the imagination, foresight, and intelligence to set up a mole hunting operation to ferret out informants, but the US government can't catch spies this quickly or effeciently.

      I think you're comparing apples to oranges. The situations are not only different in scale, but in kind. It's a totally unfair comparison.

      The drug cartels monitor employees, not citizens; the employees are in absolutely no position of power. What can they do? Unionize?

      The government, on the other hand, is answerable to the people. They can get voted out of office. They are supposed to make their decisions and take their actions openly, within reason. Now, you may be cynical about the reality of this situation, but remember that drug cartels are not answerable to anyone, not even in theory.

      Drug organizations don't have a constitution that says "we the employees" with a bill or rights, a judicial arm with a court system, nor interest groups and lobbyists working from within to keep its leaders in line.

      Finally, the job is made mind-bogglingly difficult by the sheer size of the population of the U.S., and the relative openness of its borders.

    • Re:Interesting... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Tuesday July 02, 2002 @07:45PM (#3811466)
      > It's interesting that a drug cartel could have the imagination, foresight, and intelligence to set up a mole hunting operation to ferret out informants, but the US government can't catch spies this quickly or effeciently [muskingum.edu]. Makes me wonder if such types of operations could have assisted in detering terrorist attacks, or if they are used for other illicit purposes within the US itself.

      Umm, because the Columbian drug lords aren't governed by restrictive rules on their behavior?

      For instance, data mining the telco's call logs to find potential enemies - would be (highly!) illegal for US law enforcement. Even post-9/11, even post-PATRIOT act. Evidence gathered thusly would be inadmissible in court, and might not even be enough to get a warrant to get evidence that would be admissible in court. The doctrine of "fruit from the poisoned tree" would probably apply.

      Finally - even assuming it could be lawfully-gathered and admitted in court - it wouldn't constitute proof beyond a reasonable doubt. "Yes, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, AT&T's records show my client received a phone call from a guy using the phone of a known terrorist, and that my client called in sick to work half an hour later, but that doesn't mean he knew there would be an attack!" is pretty strong circumstantial evidence, but there might be reasonable doubt ("...it only means the terrorist called the wrong number, and my client was hung over from drinking too much the night before!") in the mind of at least one juror.

      Pop quiz! Columbian drug lords...

      a) ...aren't bound by privacy regs in the first place,
      b) ...don't care if the evidence would be inadmissible in a court of law, because they care only about whether or not Jose' Blow is a mole -- not about whether he got a "fair trial", or
      c) ...don't care if the evidence (however obtained) doesn't meet the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, because killing innocents while not good for business (waste of a hit man's time, attracts unnecessary attention), if it's done in moderation, it's also not bad for business, or
      d) all of the above.

      If you're a Colombian drug lord, data mining your telco's call logs to find possible informants allows you to find the moles and eliminate 'em. This is Good For Business, so you do it.

      But if you're an FBI d00d on the trail of a badass, why on earth would you gather your evidence in such a way that it'd be useless to your case (at best), or (more likely) guarantee that your suspect gets off scot-free as a very angry judge publicly tears your attorney and your agency a new asshole?

      • Re:Interesting... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Wouldn't this be a good example of making everyone anonymous? By organizing data, like what ISPs collect, is it not more like to abused than used effectively by law enforcement.

        That is the thing most law enforcement does not seem to understand, or maybe they only understand it in one direction. A mole in your midsts can cause alot of damage.
    • definitely - and since they had seized this in 94 - you would have thought that the gov't would have taken a really close look at the logic they were using in this setup - and learned from it. and been able to incorporate their "mole engine" into the tools of the fbi, cia and local police... oh wait. these are government idiots we're talking about....

      why cant they show some common sense just once when it comes to shit like this. I am amazed that *nobody* would have thought to use this tool to their benifit.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    "The computer was essentially conducting a perpetual internal mole-hunt of the cartel's organizational chart."

    I can't wait to run ratoutasnitch@home.
  • by prockcore ( 543967 ) on Tuesday July 02, 2002 @07:18PM (#3811314)
    With the amount of cocaine and coffee in columbia, i'm suprised they didn't build the entire infrastructure in a single evening. Followed by cleaning the entire country top to bottom.
  • by CySurflex ( 564206 ) on Tuesday July 02, 2002 @07:19PM (#3811319)
    Searching for matching records in a database (phone call logs) with known values (phone #'s of known agents) is not data mining. It's simply setting up an indexed data warehouse and issuing queries.

    Data Mining is looking for UNKNOWN relationships between that data, not KNOWN relationships. So although referring to it as Data Mining may make it sound advanced and exotic, it's incorrect.

    - CySurflex
  • Since we're talking about the 'war on drugs' here, I'm wondering exactly *when* the idea of a 'war on drugs' started exactly.

    I mean, when did a government (of any type, anywhere) start trying to control the citizen's access to a then desirable substance 'for the good of the country/kingdom/fiefdom/whatever'

    I can think of many examples where this has been done so the 'government' could make money off taxes on the substance that was being smuggled in, but I can't quite find any decent resource that would tell me that, for example, it was King Foozle in some_year that used his power to ban chocolate (for example) in his kingdom.

    The only thing approaching the 'war on drugs' that I can think about is the 'war on proscribed texts' by various religious entities (Catholic Church during the middle ages for example), but that's about it.

    Anybody?
  • Cheech and Chong were spotted in Columbia recently. They said they were trying to gain employment as IT admins.
  • by FFFish ( 7567 ) on Tuesday July 02, 2002 @07:32PM (#3811398) Homepage
    ...that the would-be "War on Drugs" is a laughable waste of time, money, and lives. There is no way on this earth that the DEA and other police forces will ever come remotely close to controlling, let alone stopping, drug trafficking.

    Imagine if the umpteen billions that are pissed away on fruitless DEA efforts were instead put into drug education and drug rehab programs.

    Imagine if instead of creating a criminal underground, all drugs were legalized. The criminal underground would literally vanish: there would be no profit in the trade. We'd have as much a criminal drug trade as we have in criminal moonshine trade: which is to say, virtually none.

    Imagine if the government were to tax these drugs, as they do nicotine and alcohol. Imagine if those tax revenues were put into safe injection centres, better policing of impaired drivers, a crackdown on petty thefts, and job training programs for prisoners.

    There'd be a drastic reduction in crime. There'd be a reduction in drug abuse, as the abusers would be able to seek the help they need without arrest and with reduced stigmatization. The government would save billions of dollars. Income taxes could be lowered. There'd be world peace.

    But will this ever happen? Probably not. There's too much money being made by the people who are in control of the "War on Drugs." Follow the money trail... you'll see that for the powerful, drug illegalization is profitable.
    • Imagine if instead of creating a criminal underground, all drugs were legalized. The criminal underground would literally vanish: there would be no profit in the trade. We'd have as much a criminal drug trade as we have in criminal moonshine trade: which is to say, virtually none.

      Yes, they'd vanish into operations like casino gambling, internet porn/gambling, and controlling large multinational corporations, now with private armies and submarines. After bootlegging in the 20's was over, the criminal elements that made it big didn't disappear - they diversified.

      You may not like government under the drug war, but would you like it any better under the government of the drug cartels?

      Regarding the taxation issue - many foreign governments do little to crack down on tobacco, despite the fact that it's killing their citizens. Why? The tax revenue is too profitable to pass up
      • Or, given the complete contempt of the cartels for any sort of human suffering, and their overriding greed, they'd probably just form a coalition to artificiall inflate prices anyway, and we'd be just as bad off. I'm not entirely opposed to ending the War on Drugs, but any ending must involve the destruction of the current organizations. As long as the cartels continue to exist, they'll continue to fuck us- legalization won't change that.
    • Why do you believe the crime syndicates would go away? Did the crime syndicates go away when prohibition was dropped? No, they found other ways to make their money, many of them illegal. Organizations making billions don't just shut down if a source of revenue dry up - they use their resources to find other revenue.

      For someone with a large smuggling operation going, smuggling counterfeit pharmaseuticals would be a logical switch, or smuggling weapons.


  • th printable version - which has all th text on one page
    and less advertising and graphics - is here [business2.com]

    in general it is a nice courtesy
    to link to th printable version of stories
    when this option is available

    (this is not meant as criticism of th submitter of this story
    - i appreciated yr submission)

  • Hmm. I'm currently working as a data mining analysis for an internet advertising startup. The job has it's moments, like figuring out that credit cards should be sold to women when they make online purchases for makeup(no I am not kidding). However it would be much more exciting to work for a rich and powerful drug cartel... Does the job come with your own personal E15k [sun.com]?
  • by Ulwarth ( 458420 ) on Tuesday July 02, 2002 @07:41PM (#3811438) Homepage
    Of course organized crime is going to abuse the power that technology brings. They aren't regulated and don't answer to anyone. We could wipe out these cartels overnight by legalizing and regulated the trade of cocaine and other recreational drugs - just like we do for alcohol.

    http://neoteric.nu/history.html
    • We could wipe out these cartels overnight by legalizing and regulated the trade of cocaine and other recreational drugs - just like we do for alcohol.

      There are many who would argue with you on that. Personally, I think legalizing some of these drugs would seriously hurt them (although I'd stop short of saying "wipe them out"). However, there's also another way of winning the war on drugs.

      We could make this so-called war on drugs a real war. We go in to Columbia with some military force and start taking out the cartels. I'm not trolling -- I'm serious. I'm sure our satellites must be able to detect some large drug facilities. We'll just go in there and bomb them.

      I can hear people screaming that we don't have the right to do that. We don't have "jurisdiction" to take out the cartels -- we're supposed to wait for the Columbian government to clean up that mess. But how would that be different than what we just did in Afganistan? There was an organization in that country that caused serious damage to the United States. We ordered the ruling government (the Taliban) to turn over the terrorists or we'd go in there and do it ourselves. They didn't so we did. So how would it be different for us to demand the Columbian government takes care of the drug cartels. And if they don't, we'd do it ourselves.

      Either we should legalize these drugs or we should fight a full-scale war. This half-assed bullshit that we're doing now is just not going anywhere. Are we fighting a war on drugs or not?

      GMD

      • "But how would that be different than what we just did in Afganistan"

        It wouldn't be different. What worries me is your assumuption that what the US is doing in Afganistan is right or even justifiable.

      • "But how would that be different than what we just did in Afganistan? There was an organization in that country that caused serious damage to the United States. We ordered the ruling government (the Taliban) to turn over the terrorists or we'd go in there and do it ourselves. They didn't so we did"

        You are advocating violation of the sovereignty of a nation because its members have slighted the United States. Perhaps Columbia is ill equipped to deal with this issue, perhaps it will never be resolved.

        But the United States is not the world's police force. It may have the guns but it does not have the right. Simply having the power to do something does not make it right.

        The United States, the land of the free? Such an action would be "dictating the rights" to the Columbian Government. "You have the right to rule your Nation, except when it affects us and then we must step in because you are not capable."

        How long till the United States declares the "War against Al Queda" won and withdraws from Afganistan? The United States helped Afganis oppose the Russian Occupation and left them a broken country. Once the United State's goals are complete Afganistan will be forced to build alone, and they may not be able to overcome the many warlords of their nation.

        The United States does not have the right to interfere in the sovereignty of foreign nations.
      • With pot growing in BC, and meth being produced all over the states, not to mention that cocaine is being transplanted to other areas.

        And look at Afganistan, we blew the piss out of it, and have taken control of the country, but that doesn't stop the opium poppy crop from being the first thing replanted.

        Your going to have to take out every country in the world, as well as all your neighbors houses.

        Be a whole lot easier to legalize it, just like caffiene is legal. Regulation is far more effective than prohibition.
        • Dude, why choose caffeine as an example? I've never known anyone who could get that fucked up on coffee. Have you ever known anyone to walk into class/work on Monday and say "Man, I did sooo many lattes Saturday night... still feel lightheaded..."

          Besides, I've never been desperate enough to break into someone's house and steal their TV so I can afford my Starbucks fix.

      • What would the US gub'mint destroy the Columbia drug cartels that it created, funded, gave "aid" to (free airplanes and guns), and even flown their drugs in CIA planes? The CIA has been aiding drug cartels, toppling their competition and political opposition, and sabotaging DEA investigations and arrests in South America for many decades. This has been well documented in many sources. See Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press [wwwamazonc...95-7924610] for a good introduction.

        Of course, the CIA has also been funding drug cartels in Afganistan and Pakistan, but that is a story for another time..
      • Yep. And as soon as your ass enlists and is willing to put it "on the line", I won't even give your opinion the time of day. It's SOOOO fucking easy to say "Let's send in the troops!" when you're sitting behind a goddamn keyboard. But when you're hauling a 50 pound rucksack, getting eaten alive by tropical bugs, fighting crotch-rot, wielding a rifle, getting your ass shot at because you're there to stop someone from making a living, it's a whole different ballgame.
      • But how would that be different than what we just did in Afganistan? There was an organization in that country that caused serious damage to the United States. We ordered the ruling government (the Taliban) to turn over the terrorists or we'd go in there and do it ourselves. They didn't so we did.
        Moral arguments aside, that last sentence is not true. The taliban didn't hand them over, so we bombed the country, and never found Osama bin Laden, and who knows what else we didn't find. We got rid of the Taliban, which was not the direct source of the problem. We didn't win. I don't see any particular reason to believe anything that happened in Afghanistan has helped stop terrorism.

        We fucked Afghanistan up pretty badly though. Again, that is not a win. We've already helped fuck up Colombia pretty well too. That hasn't helped. Fucking Colombia harder doesn't seem to be a very good answer.

        • And the Taliban always said that if the US gave them evidence that bin Laden was behind the attacks, they would hand him over. The US refused to do so, and in accordance with international law, the Taliban refused to hand him over.
      • "We could make this so-called war on drugs a real war. We go in to Columbia with some military force and start taking out the cartels. . . . We'll just go in there and bomb them."

        Wow, that's brilliant. A few years back the Thai government passed a resolution banning cigarette advertising -- not even import or sale -- as they were sick of the massive health problems and wanted to decrease smoking. The U.S. suppliers cried foul and had the WTO and IMF step in to pressure them to revoke the decision. Are you saying then that Thailand had the right to initiate bombing raids on the U.S. to destroy tobacco fields?

  • by bilbobuggins ( 535860 ) <bilbobuggins@[ ]tjunt.com ['jun' in gap]> on Tuesday July 02, 2002 @08:00PM (#3811539)
    when your warehouse in Poughkeepsie automatically links up with your hit men in Columbia...


    ...that's 1 degree of seperation. That's business w/ .NET.


    (yeah, it was low;)

  • Does anybody have a crack for it?

    *groan*
  • by selan ( 234261 ) on Tuesday July 02, 2002 @08:09PM (#3811584) Journal
    ba da da DUM ba da DUM
    ba da da DUM ba da DUM

    If you wanna deal, you gotta use SQL, cocaine
    If you wanna get stoned, you gotta write the code, cocaine
    Data mine, data mine, data mine, COCAINE

    ba da da DUM ba da DUM
    ba da da DUM ba da DUM...

    Data mine, data mine, data mine, COCAINE

  • This is the scariest /. article I have ever read.

    Can you imagine how livid agents of the DEA and CIA would be if this was common knowledge amongst them? I'm not suggesting that it isn't, but who better can you think of to keep this kind of knowledge from -- "yeah, yeah, we're sending you on assignment to fight the Cali cartel, oh, and by the way, they've been tracing your hotel phone calls for 3 months")

    Security is a process, not a check box option,
    - RLJ

  • If currently illegal drugs were decriminalized, the mainframe or distributed computing setup that replaced the drug cartel AS/400 would suddenly be on eBay for a fraction of the price.

    Of course, it would be unpatriotic to suggest that this will never happen because the cartels are spending far more on US politician campaign contributions than they are on IT, right?

  • If they searched the cartel's server disks... would it be a "RAID raid" ??
  • "The central feature of the facility was a $1.5 million IBM AS400 mainframe..."

    Is that street value?
  • You read an article like this, and you can only imagine why people would want to legalize drugs and legitimize criminal scum like this. Let's see... the cartels have a monopoly on the North American drug trade. All drugs are legalized. Do you magically think the cartels will all fold up and go out of business? No, they'll try to maintain that monopoly, and you'll have a little mini-Colombia in the USA. I wonder how many American pharmecutical factories would be torched...

    I hate to break it to all the apologists who always sympathize with the underdog (even when they're so blatantly wrong as like in this case), but _drug dealers are killers_. They kill with drugs, they kill by shooting people in the head. You do not "put them out of business" by legalizing drugs. You put them out of business by arresting them and putting them in front of a judge, or perhaps far more satisfyingly, shooting each and every one of the bastards in the heads.

    To hell with "out of Colombia". To hell with "what will the rest of the world think?". It's amazing that Nader-lovers and other socialists can spew the crap they do, really. According to them, the US _deserved_ 9/11. That sort of talk is _morally repugnant_. Next thing you know, Israeli babies who get slaughtered in suicide bombing attacks deserved it, too! Oh, wait, they already do say that! I could care less that the "poor people of Colombia who've been horribly hurt by globalization, and now need to turn to drugs for money". That's totally inane. YOUR SUFFERING DOES NOT GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO HURT OTHER _INNOCENT_ PEOPLE. Really! If the rest of the world thinks that saving your citizens' lives through force is wrong, then I really could care less what they think. Better to be alone and doing the right thing than being wrong with everyone else. Moral relativism will kill us all someday.

    My countrymen are _dying_ because our country is too damn timid to go in and fix a problem, as the last resort, with the barrel of a gun. Drug dealers are taking over a country with the fruit of their deadly labors, and _terrorizing_ it. Diplomacy doesn't work unless you've got a solution when it fails. Diplomacy has failed - the friendly drug dealers aren't listening to us or the Colombian government. We need to start giving them another sort of talk - the type with lead teeth.

    For all those who'd like to convince me otherwise, I've had this sort of discussion a hundred times before, and I've listened, too. I just _don't agree_. Yes, people can disagree and be educated and not fanatical. Don't even bother wasting your misguided fingers on me by typing out some response I've already heard before. Go pamphlet a campus with pro-Nader flyers or something that'll be far more entertaining than reading your responses.

    Before you all crucify me for my views, realize that I am not totally against the legalization of marijuana. I just do not believe that legalizing crack cocaine and kow-towing to drug dealer scum will help anyone in this world, and would prefer to deal with them in a more terminal way, or arrest them.

    My apologies for being forceful. I understand what the other side of the issue is... I just seriously do not agree.

    -Erwos
  • ... is that it makes it clear what can be done with surveillance data when there are no restrictions on its use.

    Countries that like to crack down on dissidents are going to love this stuff. So far, China doesn't seem to be able to bring it off, but eventually they'll probably get it.

  • This is one server you definitely don't want to hack...

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