TIA, now I feel much better
TIA, same face, different name...
So, TIA Total Information Awareness has a new name Terrorist Information Awareness. Well, thank god, now I can sleep at night knowing that although they will continue to collect data on all americans with no restrictions at least they are only looking for "terrorists". you know, I think back to the glorious days when the School of the Americans changed its name, at least they had the coutresy to change the acronym. Perhaps they chose a new acronym due to being relabeled School of the Assassins. Maybe we need to start relabeling TIA; anyone have any suggestions? In any case here's the NY Times Article:
May 21, 2003
New Name of Pentagon Data Sweep Focuses on Terror
By ADAM CLYMER
ASHINGTON, May 20 — Saying they are worried about Americans' privacy, Pentagon officials announced in a report today that they were changing the name of a projected system to mine databases for information to help catch terrorists to Terrorist Information Awareness from Total Information Awareness.
The officials said the name was changed because the earlier version created a false impression that system was being created "for developing dossiers on U.S. citizens."
The report, which Congress demanded 90 days ago as a condition for allowing further research, said the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency was complying with all federal privacy laws as it developed the program. The report said the Darpa was not tapping into government or private databases, but was using synthetic or artificial information generated for the program "to resemble and model real-world patterns of behavior."
The Pentagon said it would be up to agencies that would use the program with real information to comply with privacy laws.
Privacy advocates said that was not good enough, because federal laws had huge national security loopholes. Senator Ron Wyden, the Oregon Democrat who pushed through the legislation that required the report and barred using the system without new legislation, said it was insufficient to promise that the system would deal only with "legally collected information."
"Legally collected information," Mr. Wyden said, "includes just about everything. There really isn't much with teeth to protect lawfully collected medical records, travel records, credit records and financial data."
The executive director of the Center for Democracy and Technology, James X. Dempsey, said: "They basically admit that there are no laws limiting, in any meaningful way, what they can do with data."
The report called the system an effort to "integrate information technologies into a prototype to provide tools to better detect, classify and identify potential foreign terrorists." It includes biometric recognition from faces to styles of walking, known as "gait recognition," or in this report, "human kinematics," and examinations of transactions that may relate to planning terrorist activities.
A list of useful information that the Darpa had on its Web site, darpa.mil, until December included Communications, Country Entry, Critical Resources, Education, Financial, Government, Housing, Medical, Place-Event Entry, Transportation, Travel and Veterinary. A spokeswoman for the agency, Jan Walker, said the relevance of veterinary information was that some biological warfare weapons attacked animals before humans.
The report said, "Safeguarding the privacy and the civil liberties of Americans is a bedrock principle." It added that the Defense Department would make them a "central element" of the Terrorist Information Awareness program.
But Mr. Wyden said, "The name has been changed, but it's very clear that the architects of the original program still want to do the kind of pattern analysis, sweeping examinations of individuals, whether it's how they walk or whatever, that involves law-abiding Americans without the procedural protections a suspect gets."
Senator Russell D. Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, also rejected the promises of privacy.
"Our current privacy laws," Mr. Feingold said, "are inadequate to deal with new techniques of data mining, which have the ability to access extensive files containing both public and private government records on each and every American. The administration should suspend not only the T.I.A., but all other data-mining initiatives in the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security until Congress can determine whether the promised benefits come at too high a price for our privacy and personal liberties."
Describing how the system is intended to work against terrorism, the report said that teams "would imagine the types of terrorist attacks that might be carried out against the United States at home or abroad."
"They would develop scenarios for these attacks," the report added, "and determine what kind of planning and preparation activities would have to be carried out in order to conduct these attacks."
Then the teams would determine what activities would be needed to carry out the attacks like "the purchase of airline tickets for travel to potential attack sites for reconnaissance purposes, payment for some kind of specialized training or the purchase of materials for a bomb.
"These transactions would form a pattern that may be discernable in certain databases to which the U.S. government would have lawful access."
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