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A friend of mine suggested that if the feds assemble a Muslim registry, everyone should register. The feds would not know who is Muslim and who is not. I replied, “No one volunteers to be on the no-fly list: how you get on that list is a secret. How you get on the Muslim registry would be a secret, too.”

I thought later, government doesn’t keep secrets that well. It thinks it does, but a great deal of so-called confidential information winds up in the public domain, however hard government agencies try to conceal it. The same might hold for various secret lists government likes to keep. The lists are secret in three respects:

  • How the feds compile them.
  • Whose names the lists contain.
  • How the feds use the lists.

If we can figure out how to hack federal watch lists – that is, dispel the secrecy that surrounds them – we can start to make them useless. When everyone wears a bowler hat, as in The Thomas Crown Affair‘s museum surveillance video, you can’t track anyone. Flood Big Brother’s field of vision with worthless information.