- Jul 29, 2002J.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles, California July 29, 2002Police-State Marketing!Jul 22, 2002
`But Officer, I Didn't Do Anything!'By JIM SLOAN
LAKELAND - They call it a ``Voluntary Roadside Interview.''
Photo by: GREG FIGHT
FHP trooper Christopher Miller directs westbound cars on I-4 near Polk City into the rest area where drivers will be asked to answer a survey about high speed rail.
But for hundreds of motorists flagged down by state troopers Monday on Interstate 4, there was nothing voluntary about it.
Off-duty troopers, hired at $30 an hour, picked motorists at random and directed them to pull off the interstate into a rest stop, where Palm Pilot- toting interviewers waited.
No, this roadside checkpoint wasn't looking for drunken drivers. The survey, which will cost about $150,000, was commissioned by the Florida High Speed Rail Authority to gauge public interest in riding a proposed 120 mph bullet train.
The experience left some motorists wondering what's next: Publix hiring troopers to corral interstate travelers for a marketing survey?
``They freaked me out,'' said Alan Kent, pulled over Monday on his way home to Clearwater after a concert. ``I thought they had pulled me over to search me.''
A woman traveling with Kent, who declined to give her name, was even more blunt: ``It's illegal,'' she said.
Not true, survey officials say. They said they checked with a lawyer for the Florida Department of Transportation.
``The bottom line is, we can do it. It's well within the law,'' said Adrian Share of HNTB Corp., general consultants for the rail authority. ``With the cooperation of state troopers, the state is allowed to pull people over just to seek information.'' ....
Reporter Jim Sloan can be reached at (813) 259-7691.
http://www.tampatrib.com/MGA5WPU8Z3D.htmlYour Grocery List Could Spark a Terror Probe - Buying TroubleVillage VoiceJuly 24 - 30, 2002
by Erik BaardThey thought they were making routine purchases - the innocent, everyday pickups of charcoal and hummus, bleach and sandwich bags, that keep the modern household running. Regulars at a national grocery chain, these thousands and thousands of shoppers used the store's preferred-customer cards, in the process putting years of their lives on file.Perhaps they expected their records would be used by marketers trying to better target consumers. Instead, says the company's privacy consultant, the data was used by government agents hunting for potential terrorists. ....As John Ashcroft's Citizens Corps spy program prepares for its debut next month, it seems scores of American companies have already become willing snitches. A few months ago, the Privacy Council surveyed executives from 22 companies in the travel industry - not just airlines but hotels, car rental services, and travel agencies - and found that 64 percent of respondents had turned over information to investigators and 59 percent had lowered their resistance to such demands. In that sampling, conducted with The Boston Globe, half of the businesses said they hadn't decided if they'd inform customers of the change, and more than a third said outright that they wouldn't. Only three said they would go public about the level of their cooperation with law enforcement.
The final destination of all that data scares Ponemon and other civil
libertarians, defenders of the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable search and seizure. Ponemon, for one, suggests federal authorities are plugging the information into algorithms, using the complex formulas to create a picture of general-population trends that can be contrasted with the lifestyles of known terrorists. If your habits match, expect further scrutiny at the least.
"I can't reveal my source, but a federal agency involved in espionage
actually did a rating system of almost every citizen in this country,"
Ponemon claims. "It was based on all sorts of information-public sources, private sources. If people are not opted in"-meaning they haven't chosen to participate-"one can generally assume that information was gathered through an illegal system." ....
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