Crossing a Treshold: Data of 2 Million Persons on a Terrorist Watchlist Leaked

We don’t even get our heads up anymore when we read that a whopping HUNDRED MILLION US citizens’ personal data is leaked and is now for sale on some dark web forum. Why would we, right? We are used to this being an everyday occurence.

But the other day something happened that opens a new chapter, believe it or not.

The event is a less visible leak of the data of 2 million people, which is not much in terms of quantity, but which is all the more meaningful, given we are talking about the full terrorist watchlist of the FBI. And given that this dataset wasn’t up for sale at some cyrillic language dark site, but was simply dumped in an Elasticsearch cluster making it accessible to anyone bumping into it.

And the no-fly list of the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center was deemed OK to be in the public domain, since it took 3 weeks to take offline after some researchers notified the Department of Homeland Security of their find.

If you have the stray thought that there is something wrong here, I’d like to reassure you that I double checked and you don’t have to worry: everyone is safe, including the heads of these services, there are no threats to their positions, benefits or pensions. There will not be reprecussions, there is nothing to see here, this is just business-as-usual.

I, for one, think that we are already deep in the long dawn leading up to the day when we are going to  look ahead with a thousand-mile stare, contemplating about what we’ve done.


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Counter-AI Collective
Counter-AI Collective

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