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EU Court Blocks Passenger Data Deal with U.S. 572

Reinier writes "The BBC reports that the European Court of Justice has ruled the airline data agreement with the United States is illegal. The 'agreement' required airlines to share 34 items of personal data of their passengers with American authorities at least fifteen minutes before take-off of any flight to the US. The Court of Justice examined the agreement after the European Parliament objected. A PDF of the ruling is available online."
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EU Court Blocks Passenger Data Deal with U.S.

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @09:41AM (#15427854)
    This is what courts standing up for individual privacy rights look like.

    Note how the US played the "Terrorism" card, and the courts didn't immediately fold.
    You may wish to send this news item to your Attorney General.
    Or you may wish to remain asleep.

    Whatevers good with you.
  • Big help (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Confused ( 34234 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @09:41AM (#15427858) Homepage
    That'll help all those EU-citizens a lot, that had their data sent to the USA in the past two years to be stored for the rest of eternity is all kind of dubious databases in the USA.

    But better late than never. I always though the implementation of the treaty should have been postponed until this ruling.
  • by RsG ( 809189 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @09:42AM (#15427861)
    From TFA, it seems the issue was more that the US doesn't guarantee sufficient protection of passanger data. Given that this data includes things like CC numbers and identifying information, I could see the concern.

    Which raises the question as to what specifically the EU courts find lacking in US data security. Perhaps there are too few checks and balances with regard to who gets access to passenger data?
  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @09:42AM (#15427864)
    With open southern and northern borders, the US government still thinks that al-Qaida and the like will use an airline to get into the US? I laugh at them.

    On the otherhand, it's good to see that the EU is flexing some muscle. Bush I believe will say..."they have some backbone..."

  • Re:Interesting... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RasendeRutje ( 829555 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @09:50AM (#15427899)
    I think every traveller to the US will have to sign a document that allows the Flight Company to pass your personal data to the US (a.k.a. selling your soul).
    You don't sign the document? You don't get on the flight.

    Result: terrorists fly to mexico and walk into the US.
  • How would Americans feel if their information had to be given to destination countries or their planes would be denied landing rights there?

    How to stamp out international tourism in 1 easy step.

    What the USA is asking won't stop terrorists from getting on board planes. Not for a second. All it has the potential to do is flag innocent people.

  • Re:Interesting... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @09:58AM (#15427941)
    And the EU will state that any such action is a restraint of trade, and impose tit-for-tat sanctions on the US.

    These were always daft US requirements that have nothing to do with terrorism. Its about time the US was brought back into line with international norms and forced to pay the price for their idiocies. They have far more to lose by not playing ball than the rest of the world, they cannot afford to play tough.

    The US will be forced to implement tough and reasonable data protection regulations on this data - which they should have been doing since the beginning.

  • Re:Big help (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Confused ( 34234 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:02AM (#15427964) Homepage
    Well, the point isn't to preotect you from getting into legal databases, the point is that a citizen you have certain rights to the data in those databases. And no, those rights don't allow you to have your criminal record deleted immediately or forbid the gouvernement to collect data about you.

    These rights are more to prevent the gouvernement to sell this data to the next direct marketeer, which will use it to make personalised adds along the road you drive every morning, or to have pharmacies sell your drug purchase history to your employer.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:04AM (#15427970)
    The courts don't make the law. This ruling doesn't matter at all. We'll still hand everything over when the USA say "Boo". Our "representatives" will change the law if they have to.
  • Re:Interesting... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tarkadot ( 800596 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:05AM (#15427979)

    Why bother flying into Mexico? Just buy an identity from a shady US data collector and you're all set...

    I really don't think any document signing or data collection is going to prevent any terrorist from getting into the states with false documents or under false pretenses.
  • by gowen ( 141411 ) <> on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:11AM (#15428010) Homepage Journal
    The French backed down from sane free-market reforms in order to improve their high unemployment rate
    I believe thats called "the right of self-determination". Your grandfather probably helped fight for it in World War 2, only for you to belittle it.
  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:13AM (#15428015)
    "The French backed down from sane free-market reforms in order to improve their high unemployment rate. They backed down due to the protests. No backbone there either."

    ZOMG, an elected government listened to unhappy voters!
  • Re:Interesting... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:13AM (#15428019)
    Does anyone think that US will start banning flights or threaten to remove financial aid if the data isn't shared? Would a European country give in to the US or obey the court ruling?

    Hopefully, the US will back down. If not... this could turn out to be nasty. There've been a couple of trade wars with the US in recent years - recall the dispute over bananas, and then over steel - but this one would be a whole lot bigger. Banning flights? Brussels would retaliate hard.

    Realistically, though, the US customs will just start demanding the information directly from the passenger on arrival, rather than getting it from the airline. It would be a big hassle, and would leave Europeans with an even worse impression of Americans than they already have, but at least it wouldn't spark off another trade war costing billions.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:14AM (#15428021)
    Not that I disagree with the sentiment, but when Ben was alive, the deadliest self-contained weapon that a single man could carry was a musket. Trotting out 200 year old quotes without the context of modern realities is of no value.
  • Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:14AM (#15428022) Journal
    Let me see if I understand.

    Sharing info BAD.
    Logging all internet traffic(EU data retention acts) GOOD.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:14AM (#15428024)
    And I, for one, an American with a family history that goes back to the Mayflower, welcome this with open arms!

    My fellow Americans are definitely asleep. They spout off about how "moral" they are, and then allow torture. They support war crimes. They support public bribery of every public official. They allow their elections to be rigged with wild abandon. And, through their ignorance and abject greed they are quite willing to kill off the rest of the world with their environmental stupidity.

    Europe is my only remaining hope. Bring it on! Please! In all fairness, you should just let us drown in our own effluent, but it really is a small and interconnected world. It is in your best interest, as well as ours, for you to "bitch slap" the hell out of us, and preferrably soon.

  • by Nevynxxx ( 932175 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:16AM (#15428040)
    " Fact is, we live in an ever-increasingly dangerous world"
    This is not a fact. This is compleatly untrue. There have been active terrorists in the world, constantly for the last 100 years.

    I work no more than 1 mile from the last IRA attempt, as far as I can see it did us a lot more good than harm, but that's another matter.

    Please don't say that just because they are after you now, the world is "more dangerous" maybe your part of it is, but overall, it's ticking along as normal.
  • Re:Big help (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dwater ( 72834 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:24AM (#15428076)
    ...but the *USA* will have those databases.

    It seems you have no idea how little EU citizens trust the USA.
  • Nice troll (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:24AM (#15428079)
    But you do realize that none of the security measure put into place at airports have anything to do with catching or detering terrorists?

    They were put into place to make people *feel* safer flying. Think about what that means for a moment.

    Essentially, all of these rules were put into place to convince people it was safe to fly again, since people were freaked out after 9/11 and wouldn't fly. Please try to think for yourself, as Bush is too stupid to know what to do, and Chaney et al is too corrupt to care.

  • by Ebirah ( 528097 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:25AM (#15428084) Homepage
    "If we don't supply the information to the United States authorities then we're liable to fines of up to $6,000 per passenger and the loss of landing rights," he said.

    Are the airlines going to have to completely suspend flights to the United States if neither side backs down?

    That would get in the way of their profits somewhat. (Though various US airlines would probably welcome a little less competition...)

    I suspect that the airlines will demand the information themselves as a precondition of flying with them. In other words no actual change at all in the situation, apart from the responsibility for collecting the data no longer being a governmental thing. Technically, it becomes voluntary... though the airline won't let you onto the plane if you don't give it.

    It's a win-win situation: The EU get to wash their hands of any dodgy legal issues, and everybody else is still precisely as happy about the situation as they were before.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:25AM (#15428088)
    First of all, which financial aid do you think the US of A is giving to europe right now ? you`re talking about a confederation which has quite a few permanent members in the G8, the group of the 8 largest and richest states.
    even though small on the map, it is an even match for the US.
    Just because people in the US of A do not know foreign politics and economics is no reason to ass-ume that europe is some kind of developing country. after all, a european company owns chrysler, more than half of all cellphone companies (nokia, siemens, the ericsson in sony-ericsson) come from there, and for the sake of statistics, its the third largest arms exporter after the US of A and the former Soviet states.

    If the US blocks flights from europe, the reverse is also possible, dealing a major blow to international flights, given that london heathrow and frankfurt and paris are among the worlds 10 premier airports (frankfurt is one of the top freight exchanges and passenger exchanges).
    This would also be a major blow for airline industry on both sides of the pond, with european airlines better positioned then the US airlines (lufthansa could e.g. use other airlines of the five-star-alliance to legally correct circumvent this, other european lines have similar agreements).

    Since european court has enough power to enforce member states to change their laws (its compareable to american superior courts on US of A level
    e.g. forbidding the State of Washington to open an airport named Washington Airport :-) or such... and I expect quite some americans to fall
    for this argument trap - look up Washington vs. DC), it is highly unlikely
    that anything overturns this rule within the next few years.

    It`s sad for the US of A to realize, but they can fold in, or good bye atlantic air travel. most likely its going to be a compromise, which will
    in the end secure that no data from european citizens is resold, while
    world and dog suffer on.

    And one more thing - the rule of the european central court is enough to make for serious diplomatic trouble with the US of A if necessary. If anyone just said "screw you, mate" - it was the european court...

    don`t forget that they have a few hundred years more history of fighting tradewars, going back to the british colonial trade emporium and the hanse and others. this is europe, not your next door underdeveloped country.

    just for the record, I would not open my mouth that wide if I where living in one of the most freedom hating, 1984 security countries of the world.
    bush is to economy and ecology what a.h. was to peace in 1939.
  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:36AM (#15428142)
    Fact is, we live in an ever-increasingly dangerous world.
    No we don't. The real fact is that we live in an ever-decreasingly dangerous world. For example, 500 years ago people couldn't travel without an entourage because otherwise they'd be attacked by freakin' bandits! They had to worry all the time about growing enough food to not starve to death. They were pretty darn likely to die in childhood from diseases that barely even exist anymore. They had to worry about being sold into slavery. They lived in constant fear of attack from neighboring fiefdoms.

    Nowadays, the thing most likely to kill you is not bandits or the plague or maurading Huns, but rather is your own gluttony! And yet our entire country gets bent out of shape just beacuse a few thousand people happened to die in the same incident. Honestly, it isn't that big a problem!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:40AM (#15428163)
    My guess is that there will be no practical change.
    "(a) the data subject has given his consent unambiguously to the proposed transfer;"

    The airlines will add a clause to the ticketing agreement such that the passenger has unambiguously given his consent to the data transfer, and all will continue as currently. This is the same arrangement that allows airport security to search you - they have no *right* to do so, but conversely they have no *obligation* to let you into their airport. You can either be searched, or not get on the plane - the choice is yours.
  • by G. W. Bush Junior ( 606245 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:43AM (#15428174) Journal
    Either the evil corporations have access to your info, or the government does.

    [sarcasm] Oh, great! So if I don't want my government to spy on me I can move to the US! That's wonderful.[/sarcasm}

    It's the most ridiculous thing I heard all day.

    Oh, and another ting: Why do you trust random corporations more than your government?!?! At least with the goverment you have a say in who makes the decisions, and you can punish them if they screw up.
    This is of course just a realization that the US isn't as democratic as they like to pretend, as evidenced by the low voter turnouts at elections.

    Go ahead and mod me down! But please stop and think if this troll might be making just a little bit of sense before you hit the moderate button.
  • Re:Big help (Score:3, Insightful)

    by m874t232 ( 973431 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:43AM (#15428176)
    First of all, just like Americans, Europeans trust their own government more than foreign governments.

    Second, do you seriously believe that in the US, there won't be widespread tracking of license plates? It will likely be carried out by some company, who will then sell the data to almost anybody who asks. In fact, in the US, companies can operate with near impunity, and the US government apparently circumvents restrictions on itself by outsourcing.

    The real difference in terms of privacy between the US and Europe is that Europeans generally place stronger limits on corporate use of private data and that governmental use is more transparent. That makes it appear as if European governments are more intrusive, but in the end, it probably means that in absolute terms, your personal life is still a little more protected in Europe than in the US.
  • Re:why EU ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stinerman ( 812158 ) <> on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:44AM (#15428180) Homepage
    Yeah and I loved Canada because they take care of their poor and homelessness is non-existant there ... until I found out they have a hell of a lot of homeless people.

    Don't believe what you read in the papers or see on TV. America isn't the land of 6'2" blonde cowboys.
  • by Confused ( 34234 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:46AM (#15428194) Homepage
    The EU, by and large, trusts their governments to deal with privacy and controlling it. The US, by and large, trusts the private sector.

    Yes, that sums it up quite well. And given the choice, trusting the gouvernement seems more reasonable, as they already have certain monopols (law making, law enforcement, military power). So if your gouvernement becomes corrupt to a point that even basic trust isn't justified any more, your personal data will be your least concern. Another feature of gouvernements is that it keeps the level of corruption rather equal across the branches. So if you still have a few branches you trust, there's a good chance you can trust the other branches as much.

    On the other side you have the private sector, where every corporation does as it thinks it can get away with. If one oversteps the boundary, they'll declare bankrupt and the same people start another corporation with a different name and the same game. Self-regulation has been proven many times in the past not to work, a very popular example for this is boiler safety in the UK and US in the late 1800s. If the major concern is the protection of weak individuals against corporations, asking the industry to play fair and nice is naïve, if so much money can be made by not playing nice. Also corporations will have a hard time being more trustworthy than the gouvernement, which can threaten the people working in the corporation. Never underestimate the persuavie power of free roaming death-squads.

    To balance things out, the private sector works far better if the goal is effiency to deliver products and services. So if you want cheap and efficient data protection, go to the private sector, if you want trustworthy data protection, stay with the gouvernement.
  • by Savage-Rabbit ( 308260 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:46AM (#15428196)
    These rights are more to prevent the gouvernement to sell this data to the next direct marketeer, which will use it to make personalised adds along the road you drive every morning, or to have pharmacies sell your drug purchase history to your employer.

    The political weasels would be more much likely to 'make the data available' to their bretheren the corporate weasels in exchange for campaign contributions than to sell it outright. They may have had their sense of morality surgically removed but they are not stupid. For Europeans ther is a bright side to this, at least the EU is finally growing a backbone vis-a-vis the USA. One of GWB's greatest legacies will probably be that with his 'Go it alone and damn what the rest of the world thinks!' policy he has burned through whatever credit the US had with the Europeans over the US saving their bacon durng WWII and he has done so in an amazingly short period of time.
  • Because a lot of terrorists striking the US came through this route lately...

    Seriously, this and other measures are totally useless and inefficient to deter terrorists. The 9/11 hijackers had perfectly valid travel papers and would have been most likely granted entry even had these rules been in place. Building fences isn't going to do much, I'd rather suggest solving the problem at the source - US involvement in the Middle East.
  • by crawling_chaos ( 23007 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:51AM (#15428218) Homepage
    Your grandfather probably helped fight for it in World War 2, only for you to belittle it.

    I think you are misunderstanding the situation: it is perfectly fine to belittle a situation that you find stupid, although it often reflects more on the person making the comment than on the subject. That is one of the rights that my grandfather certainly fought for. He is not belittling France's right to self-determination, only the decision they came to. If that is forbidden ground, then the rest of the world needs to STFU about our Idiot in Chief, as we sadly elected him to a second term, Bob help us.

  • by MrSquirrel ( 976630 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:52AM (#15428227)
    Actually, they used box-cutters. The likelyhood that a similar event could be pulled off now is slim-to-none. Before 9/11, a "routine" hijacking was where a terrorist or group of terrorists would simply commandeer the aircraft (with passengers) to make some kind of political bargain, that's one of the reasons none of the passengers on 9/11 did anything (except Flight 93, which learned of the other flights via phone conversations with family/friends). Now, no passengers will sit back from a mildly threatening entity -- there was a case a while after 9/11 where a passenger was making threats and a half-dozen people tackled him and tied him up. Passengers don't take crap anymore -- just like the passengers on Flight 93 when they learned of their possible fate.
  • by debest ( 471937 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @11:05AM (#15428299)
    That would get in the way of their profits somewhat.

    So would getting fined to the tune of $6000 per passenger if they were to remain subject to the US rules.

    I suspect that the airlines will demand the information themselves as a precondition of flying with them. In other words no actual change at all in the situation, apart from the responsibility for collecting the data no longer being a governmental thing. Technically, it becomes voluntary... though the airline won't let you onto the plane if you don't give it.

    I could be reading the article incorrectly, but it looks to me that the act of handing over this data to the US government violates the EU Data Protection Directive. So it makes no difference if the data is handed over to the US "voluntarily" by the airline, or by directive by an agreement between the US and EU: both are equally non-permissable by the above directive, and the data cannot be handed over (according to this ruling).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @11:15AM (#15428356)
    Yep the nukes are in the hands of vermin and Bush plans to use them in Iran in a couple of months.
  • by Eivind ( 15695 ) <> on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @11:23AM (#15428407) Homepage
    I suspect that the airlines will demand the information themselves as a precondition of flying with them.

    That won't work. You seem to misunderstand the situation.

    The thing is, the airlines, in Europe, already collect all this information (or for the part they don't nessecarily, like email-adress, I'm certain the US accepts this field being left blank) while handing out the ticket. For example, by nesecity they'll know how you paid for your ticket, at what date you ordered it, if you bougth a one-way or return ticket and so on.

    The thing is, the US government demands the airlines hand over all of this information on their passengers if flying into the US.

    This ruling now says that doing so would be a violation of EU data-protection laws, thus the airlines cannot legally comply with the US request.

    That puts them in a bind. This would change precisely not at all if the data should be handed to a US private company instead of US intelligence.

    I'm sure some solution will be found, shutting down all Europe->USA fligths so that one could get into the US from Europe only by flying by a third country (such as Canada or Mexico) is unthinkable.

  • by astonishedelf ( 845821 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @11:34AM (#15428482)
    Given that the London and Madrid bombings took place on trains and on a bus, and we're talking about airline security - isn't this a little off-topic?
  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @11:43AM (#15428545)
    Of course we shouldn't ignore it, but we shouldn't get hysterical about it either! And it's certainly not worth giving up our civil liberties for, seeing as how those are more important than any individual's life anyway.
  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @11:46AM (#15428566) Homepage Journal
    Fact is, we live in an ever-increasingly dangerous world.

    I call bullshit on that. Please, where is your data?

    There is no way anyone or any government can protect against everything or everyone.

    True. And it isn't their job to do it. Somehow the US citizen tend to extremes - they want no government at all, or they want to sue if they put their hamster in the microwave. Most people in the EU can live with a balance - we don't expect the government to protect us from everything (especially not our own stupidity) but we do expect a certain level of safety and are willing to take the necessary amount of government and bureaucracy that comes with that.
  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @11:49AM (#15428586) Homepage Journal
    And yet our entire country gets bent out of shape just beacuse a few thousand people happened to die in the same incident. Honestly, it isn't that big a problem!

    Not on a death-toll scale, really. Then again, on that same scale the Iraq war isn't much of a problem, either.

    There are things besides body counting, however, that matter. The Iraq war is wrong for many reasons, and probably criminal enough that Bush should be jailed and get a death sentence. The 9/11 thingy was likewise wrong for many reasons and its impact goes far beyond the few thousand dead people - which, btw., was exactly the purpose.
  • by demachina ( 71715 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @12:00PM (#15428677)
    "Don't think so, he'll rather say "OK, so no EU planes will land here anymore.", "

    No he wont. The economic damage to the U.S. from such self imposed sanctions would be catastrophic. If the U.S. were to boycott EU planes you just boycott American airlines until the U.S. caves.

    Everyone ought to call America's bluff on this and it would soon become obvious how much of a paper tiger the Bush administration is.

    The U.S. is already doing grievous economic damage to itself in the wake of 9/11, squandering vast sums on useless false security measures and $400 billion squandered in Iraq for starters. But too, many bright people will no longer come to the U.S. for conferences or to work. The U.S. is driving graduate students and researchers away from the U.S. because visas are so much harder to get and U.S. protection of civil liberties has become so weak and capricious many people don't want to come to a nation which no longer has due process, especially if you aren't a U.S. citizen, aren't Judeo-Christian or you have dark skin. Of course U.S. citizens don't have any assurance of due process either, reference Jose Padilla though he does have dark skin and is a Muslim convert. Of course you aren't even really safe if you don't come to the U.S. since the U.S. created rendition it bestowed upon itself the power to snatch people anywhere in the world, in violation of national sovereignty and whisk you away to a secret prison to be tortured. Might not be so bad if this program had a 100% certainty of nabbing terrorists but it has provably snatched completely innocent people by mistake, destroying their lives.

    Its kind of slow motion damage since it will take a few years before the damage is obvious but the U.S. has become completely dependent on brains coming from other countries for R&D and higher education and everything the U.S. does to discourage them from coming to the U.S. is akin to shooting itself in the foot. The U.S. was able to develop nuclear weapons during World War II because it welcomed highly educated refugees from Nazi Germany with open arms. Today the U.S. is more like Nazi Germany and the refugee flow is now in the opposite direction. The only people still welcomed with open arms are the largely uneducated cheap labor flowing across the border unchecked with NO RESTRICTION. The U.S. doesn't even know their names or where they came from, let alone have 45 personal information items on them.

    It is a sign of complete insanity to impose these intrusive restrictions on legal travelers at the same time that you are still making NO effort to seal a massively porous border with Mexico 5 years after 9/11.
  • by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @12:02PM (#15428699)
    the 9/11 hijackers used knives...

    to get the planes that they turned into missiles.
  • by YesIAmAScript ( 886271 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @12:25PM (#15428890)
    (I'm American)

    And I have a problem with this.

    Remember, the hijackers in 2001 were all in the country legally. We had all the info on them we needed, either it just didn't add up or we failed to act upon it.

    There's no way I'm surrendering my email address (amongst other things) to fly.
  • by swillden ( 191260 ) * <> on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @12:36PM (#15428971) Homepage Journal

    I believe thats called "the right of self-determination". Your grandfather probably helped fight for it in World War 2, only for you to belittle it.

    Yes, my grandfather was in France in WWII, and fought for France's right of self-determination, and he'd be one of the first to belittle some of the things they've chosen to do with that right.

    Similarly, I believe deeply in the democratic process, but that doesn't mean that I automatically approve of every action taken by every democratic government.

  • And yet our entire country gets bent out of shape just beacuse a few thousand people happened to die in the same incident. Honestly, it isn't that big a problem!


    A true patriot worships! those who died, and sacrafices his rights in their name!! Are you a true patriot?
  • by Malakusen ( 961638 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @12:55PM (#15429124) Journal
    Rapidly filling? Well, if you count Israel, and assume that Iran managed to get a nuke from somewhere (absent a delivery system however), you've got, um, 2. And Israel isn't on the verge of collapse. Actually, Iran isn't either, a lot of Iranians are perfectly happy where they are. If Iran collapses it will be another popular revolution by the younger ages, but since we're polarizing their country by encouraging anti-U.S. nationalism I don't see them collapsing anytime soon. Whatever complaints they may have in their country, they are going to present a unified face to us. Saudi Arabia could be on the verge of collapse, but they don't have nukes. I'd be more worried about Asia and North Korea, or about Pakistan or Russia selling nukes. If Al Qaeda gets a nuke, which they'd have to find ready-made, they still need a delivery method. Most likely is packed onto a freighter of some sort, which is why we need better port security, defined as not outsourcing to a Middle Eastern country.

    I'm just curious, which countries were you referring to? And how does it relate to airline safety? The 9/11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia which is not at all close to collapse, or a nuclear power. Educate and inform, please.
  • by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @01:10PM (#15429241) Homepage
    Moderates don't make for good televised arguments. Therefore, the average american is not exposed to a moderate viewpoint.

    To a comfortable (and therefore apathetic) populace, such a system is inevitable. The market demands infotainment, and debating extremists are much more entertaining than moderate discussions.
  • by gowen ( 141411 ) <> on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @01:29PM (#15429408) Homepage Journal
    It's not paranoia when the buggers you're concerned with do things like fly planes into a pair of buildings with
    If you track and investigate the people who are likely to do that, it's good police work. When you assume that everyone is going to do that, it's paranoia.

    It's also counterproductive. You end up submerging your intelligence services with a mountain of undirected information, from which they can't possibly discover anything. The CIA didn't miss the 9/11 hijackers because they had too little information, they missed them because they had too much. Catching terrorists requires directed operations, based on actual intelligence. Data mining won't get you anywhere.
  • by edzillion ( 842353 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @02:05PM (#15429716)
    US terror watchlist 80,000 names long: report
    "The classified list, which carried just 16 names before the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington had grown to 1,000 by the end of 2001, to 40,000 a year later and now stands at 80,000"
    8 Dec 2005 aspx?newsid=1312/ []
  • Re:Nonsense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by glesga_kiss ( 596639 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @02:14PM (#15429819)
    What a load of NONSENSE. People actually waste their time worrying about this crap.

    Yes, they do. The same part of the bible that says gay sex is a sin also has similarly strong words for those who eat shellfish. Quote the book itself:

    Leviticus 18:22 - Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

    Leviticus 11:12 - Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.

    This is where "kosher" comes from. It's food that follows the laws stated in The Old Testiment. If you don't follow them, you will burn in hell aparently. Things like kosher and halal may seem silly to some, but they are no more silly than anything else in religion.

  • Re:Interesting... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by glesga_kiss ( 596639 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @03:37PM (#15430595)
    Result: terrorists fly to mexico and walk into the US.

    That's highly unlikely. Firstly, Canada would be a better choice to do that. Secondly, there are a dozen easier ways. Sail in on a private charter, cargo ship, or a cruise with false tourist visas. Similar tricks can be done with air traffic to smaller airports. The walk from Mexico is through a desert and the end is guarded by rednecks with dogs & guns. Tough choice...

  • Most of this thread has missed the point.

    The U.S. is a soverign nation, not part of the EU. Travel into the U.S. is at the discretion of the U.S.

    All this means is increased screening of people travelling from the E.U. and increased cost to them.

    It doesn't matter at all what the EU says, they don't control entry to the U.S.

    EU: We demand our laws be upheld
    US: That's fine, your laws apply to your land, not ours. Give us the details we want to allow entry.
    EU: No
    US: OK, no entry. Next.
  • There's a One-Star General who got dumped because she was the commander over the outfit that brought us the infamy of Abu Graib (however that's spelled). Punish the guilty, say I -- as a retired USAF officer. Punish them HARD.

    But make darned sure you get the right "guilty" parties. Remember that guy who was going to be court martialed for shooting those poor, wounded men in a mosque a while back. Autopsies showed he did the right thing. See his letter in the Washington Post le/2006/05/27/AR2006052700846_pf.html []
    A year ago I was charged with two counts of premeditated murder and with other war crimes related to my service in Iraq. My wife and mother sat in a Camp Lejeune courtroom for five days while prosecutors painted me as a monster; then autopsy evidence blew their case out of the water, and the Marine Corps dropped all charges against me ["Marine Officer Cleared in Killing of Two Iraqis," news story, May 27, 2005].

    My beef is that the critics of war are really selective in who they criticise. Far too often, our guys are presumed guilty; the other side has "legitimate grievances."
  • by N3wsByt3 ( 758224 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @06:55PM (#15431757) Journal
    "Seriously, though, you're saying that the good of the individual should be sacrificed for the good of the majority."

    He said no such thing.

    The issue here was not: "it's worth killing 3000 people in the twin towers to keep our civil liberties", it is rather: "it's worth keeping our civil liberties, even after the killing of 3000 people".

1 1 was a race-horse, 2 2 was 1 2. When 1 1 1 1 race, 2 2 1 1 2.