The Ultimate Surveillance Team: Microsoft + Police
Microsoft collaborates with the Department of Homeland Security, Interpol, and the Canadian Mounties to produce the ultimate people-tracking database, mining email aliases, "chat room" logs, and arrest records. This open-source software developed by MS Canada will be given away free to police departments, says the company. "The initiative was the result of a January 2003 e-mail sent to Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates from a member of the Toronto Police Service sex-crimes unit, asking for help in battling child pornography," reports the Seattle Times. "The billionaire, known for his philanthropy in the area of AIDS research and education, called on Microsoft Canada to develop software that would aid police officials." Buried in the enthusiastic accounts of how the Child Exploitation Tracking System (CETS) will nail "child sex fiends" is any consideration of how such a system could -- and will undoubtedly someday -- be used against such lesser offenses as drug use, sharing illegal music files, or discussion of political beliefs that could be construed as supporting "terrorism."