Bush is trying to permanently widen FBI prerogatives in opening investigations of US citizens before leaving office. His new guidelines would allow an investigation to begin on the basis of data-mining and profiling, with no evidence of suspected wrong-doing.
This, at a time when the British MI-5 is finding that profiling is useless for identifying potential terrorists there. Those who turn to terror are not usually religious, or well-trained religiously, are not necessarily young or single, and don’t belong to particular ethnic groups.
How profiling can turn bad is illustrated by this pilot who is on a watch list, with his livelihood threatened, for no reason.
Given how pusillanimous most telecom companies have been in the face of demands that they cooperate with illegal surveillance requests on their clients that privacy mode in browsers may become important.