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Profiling (fwd)

At Lee's request, I'm forwarding this note to several relevant forums.
 - [email protected]

Forwarded message:
Date: Thu, 15 Sep 1994 06:15:37 -0600
From: [email protected] (Lee Knoper)
Subject: Profiling
Reply-To: [email protected]


    Here's a situation in which "profiling" by a government agency is
    already causing a problem.  
    Recall that recently on <eff-activists) there was brief discussion
    regarding the use of "profiles" in advertising efforts, in the context
    of interactive TV.
    Some participants favored what was perceived as a probable improvement 
    in the efficiency of such advertising.  Others saw distinct dangers,
    especially if profiles were marketed or traded among private sector 
    entities, or if government became more involved. 
    This particular situation is quite disturbing because it involves a
    state tax agency, and as everyone can appreciate, here is an example
    of where one is effectively presumed guilty until proven innocent, and
    is subject to asset seizure pending resolution as well as possible
    A correspondent is trying to defend himself against some aggressive 
    actions by the AZ Department of Revenue.  He has discovered that AZ 
    Revised Statutes section 42-117 permits the DoR, at its discretion, to 
    assess a personal income tax which is based on a "statistically valid 
    sampling method."  Although this option is seldom used, it is being 
    applied in his case due to partial loss of records during a move.  
    In other words, your AZ tax can be based on your profile, irrespective
    of your income or expenses.
    Worse, AZ DoR cites ARS 42-113 through -115 as requiring one to keep 
    records for four years after filing.  Yet it asserts that there is no
    statute of limitations for audits - it can audit a filing at any time,
    and can presumably apply the statistical sampling method retroactively
    if it so desires.
    Obviously, this situation goes well beyond profiling to determine who 
    to audit.  These and other, equally onerous provisions comprise a pit
    of despair.  Ironically, DoR asserts that "all laws are presumed to be
    The U.S. military is also involved in profiling, which is probably not
    much of a surprise because the military is often used as a test bed
    for social engineering experiments anyway.
    New ID is being issued to retired and current members of the military
    and their dependents, and to commissioned officers in the U.S. Public
    Health Service.  The new ID is replete with a digitized photo, two bar
    codes and what amounts to a kind of PIN linked to the SSAN.  It is
    intended to be machine-readable and linked to local and central
    It's also a bit of an eye-opener to note that it is expected to 
    replace ID used for -other- than official business as well, like club
    cards and health care access cards.  If it's not in your profile or if 
    the money is not in your account, you can't do_it/have_it.  Moreover, 
    you'll probably get automatically reported for followup investigation 
    to determine willfulness and intent. 
    Does unrestrained profiling start to look a little ugly by now?  It 
    ought to.  If there's money to be made, or power to be wielded, 
    neither Constitutional law nor existing statutory law holds much sway.