With Us or Against Us

by Devanshu Mehta

You’re either with us or against us [via Schneier]:

The Maryland State Police classified 53 nonviolent activists as terrorists and entered their names and personal information into state and federal databases that track terrorism suspects, the state police chief acknowledged yesterday. […]

Both Hutchins and Sheridan said the activists’ names were entered into the state police database as terrorists partly because the software offered limited options for classifying entries.

Bruce Schneier, who is generally the most sound source on these matters, says that “the database needs more nuance”. I say, the database doesn’t need to classify nonviolent activists at all! Included in these lists were people who belonged to groups opposing the Iraq war and groups opposing the death penalty. Reminds me of a question they have on the USCIS form you fill out to apply for naturalization [pdf] here in the United States:

Have you ever been a member of or associated with any organization, association, fund, foundation, party, club, society or similar group in the United States or in any other place?

Errr.. hasn’t everyone?

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