Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

The New York Times
State Department Link Will Open Visa Database to Police Officers

January 31, 2003

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 - Law enforcement officials across the country will soon have access to a database of 50 million overseas applications for United States visas, including the photographs of 20 million applicants.
Critics also point to what they call the unwelcome precedent of foreign-intelligence sharing with local law enforcement, even if the intelligence community's initial contribution to the new system may seem somewhat innocuous. That component is the Open Source Information System, a portal where 14 agencies pool unclassified information. Such material in the new system will includes text articles from foreign periodicals and broadcasts, technical reports and maps.

Cool. Ranger Joe will be able to read my blog on his PDA!

This sort of thing is difficult to "turn off" once it gets going. I think you should read "Law Enforcement officals across the country" to mean "just about anybody willing to bribe a cop." Scary scary scary.