Keeping Track of John Poindexter

Monday, 16 December 2002, 11:52 AM EST

The head of the government's Total Information Awareness project, which aims to root out potential terrorists by aggregating credit-card, travel, medical, school and other records of everyone in the United States, has himself become a target of personal data profiling.

Online pranksters, taking their lead from a San Francisco journalist, are publishing John Poindexter's home phone number, photos of his house and other personal information to protest the TIA program.

Matt Smith, a columnist for SF Weekly, printed the material -- which he says is all publicly available -- in a recent column: "Optimistically, I dialed John and Linda Poindexter's number -- (301) 424-6613 -- at their home at 10 Barrington Fare in Rockville, Md., hoping the good admiral and excused criminal might be able to offer some insight," Smith wrote.

"Why, for example, is their $269,700 Rockville, Md., house covered with artificial siding, according to Maryland tax records? Shouldn't a Reagan conspirator be able to afford repainting every seven years? Is the Donald Douglas Poindexter listed in Maryland sex-offender records any relation to the good admiral? What do Tom Maxwell, at 8 Barrington Fare, and James Galvin, at 12 Barrington Fare, think of their spooky neighbor?"

Smith said he wrote the column to demonstrate the sense of violation he felt over his personal records being profiled by secretive government agencies.

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