Life. Well-Watched.

On Wednesday, Wired's Ryan Singel reported the FBI's National Security Branch Analysis Center (NSAC), a datamining center, has collected 1.5 billion records on citizens and noncitizens alike for use in domestic criminal investigations. This wouldn't shock us, frankly, except Singel found that private companies like Sears, car rental company Avis and the Wyndham Worldwide hotel chain (parent company of budget hotels such as Travelodge, Ramada and Days Inn), have shared customer information with NSAC.

If this kind of government-private sector collusion doesn't worry you, then you can stop reading now.

But if it does, know this:

Wired.com’s analysis of more than 800 pages of documents obtained under our Freedom of Information Act request show the FBI has been continuously expanding the NSAC system and its goals since 2004. By 2008, NSAC comprised 103 full-time employees and contractors, and the FBI was seeking budget approval for another 71 employees, plus more than $8 million for outside contractors to help analyze its growing pool of private and public data.

A long-term planning document from the same year shows the bureau ultimately wants to expand the center to 439 people.

This kind of long-term plan to expand the FBI's datamining capabilities without congressional oversight is extremely worrying. As Singel points out, NSAC is the closest the FBI has gotten to resurrecting its Total Information Awareness (TIA) program, which was so far-reaching and scary that Congress, with bipartisan support, defunded it in 2003. Singel adds:

The FBI also has ambitious plans to expand its data set, the budget request shows. Among the items on its wish list is the database of the Airlines Reporting Corporation — a company that runs a backend system for travel agencies and airlines. A complete database would include billions of American’s itineraries, as well as the information they give to travel agencies, such as date of birth, credit card numbers, names of friends and family, e-mail addresses, meal preferences and health information.

If you don't care that the FBI knows that you prefer vegan meals on your flights, no biggie. But your credit card numbers? The federal government isn't known for its foolproof protection of private information, so start worrying.

ACLU Legislative Counsel Legislative Counsel Christopher Calabrese said in a statement yesterday:

It is not only troubling that the FBI is collecting this vast amount of information, but also that the information remains in the possession of the FBI, whether or not it is relevant to suspected criminal activity or reliable. The way this collection and retention works, if you happened to be staying at the same hotel or renting a car the same day as someone currently under FBI investigation, your private information is swept up and locked into one of these databases forever. The presumption of innocence is turned on its head and everyone becomes a suspect.

So the next time you're staying at a Howard Johnson, make sure your in-room movie selection is something you wouldn’t mind the government keeping forever in its database.

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anon

I'm a TI and I'm constantly monitored and harassed by groups of people. I wish to inform people about the technology they use to tournament and harass as well as take any action to stop them from monitoring me.

Vic Livingston

ACLU IS WAKING UP TO THE EXTRAJUDICIAL TORTURE MATRIX THAT IS DESTROYING LIVES AND LIVELIHOODS OF THOUSANDS IF NOT MILLIONS OF UNJUSTLY TARGETED AMERICANS.

This journalist is one of them. And now the "program" is using a local police and courts to try to silence me.

Please read my articles. Then help we, the VICTIMS OF U.S. GOVERNMENT TERRORISM AGAINST ITS OWN CITIZENS -- INCLUDING TORTURE VIA MICROWAVE AND LASER RADIATION DIRECTED ENERGY SYSTEMS...

...one iteration, apparently disguised as cell phone towers.

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-ter...
http://nowpublic.com/world/domestic-torture-radiation-weaponry-americas-...
http://nowpublic.com/world/govt-fusion-center-spying-pretext-harass-and-...

a nurse

Someone needs to investigate what appear to be COINTELPRO-like operations being conducted across the U.S. against innocent, law-abiding, life-long citizens of the U.S.

Who is going to expose and stop this Kakfa-esque program?

anon

This is beyond troubling. (Has Rachel Maddow done any reporting on this issue?)

A. Mutén

If this is on the wish list, it would not be from the Airlines Reporting Corporation that they would be coming to collect it. As the financial settlement engine for ticketing between the airlines and travel agencies, our data includes only that which would appear on a ticket and relating to the point of sale and is necessary to settle the transaction. It most definitely does not contain such personal information as date of birth, names of friends and family, e-mail addresses, meal preferences and health information.

A. Mutén
Airline Reporting Corporation

anon

Yes, its true I believe we all must be-aware of the dangers of ever advancing technology. The biggest problem is that even corporations and groups may get a hold of these technologies and invade citizens rights.

There should be organizations set up to regulate and monitor these technologies.

I am a victim and I hope that people know all about this subject.

Paen

I bet Stalin would have loved having an
NASC of his very own.

Allan M.

If this is on the FBI wish list, it would not be from the Airlines Reporting Corporation that they would be coming to collect it. As the financial settlement engine for ticketing between the airlines and travel agencies, our data includes only that which would appear on a ticket and relating to the point of sale and is necessary to settle the transaction. It most definitely does not contain such personal information as date of birth, names of friends and family, e-mail addresses, meal preferences and health information.

A. Mutén
Airlines Reporting Corporation

Anonymous

The government privatization sectors (agencies) or unregulated entities are being misconstrued by instrument or function which is the political analysis.

J. Harmon

Christopher Calabrese -This wasn't a search on everybody- The FBI was looking for a specific criminal wanted as a suspect in a double homicide. Had a member of your family been one of the victims, I doubt you would have made this rediculous statement!

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