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The American Surveillance State Is Here. Can It Be Evaded?
The Rutherford Institute ^ | July 29, 2013 | John W. Whitehead

Posted on 07/29/2013 2:09:43 PM PDT by xzins

“If, as it seems, we are in the process of becoming a totalitarian society in which the state apparatus is all-powerful, the ethics most important for the survival of the true, free, human individual would be: cheat, lie, evade, fake it, be elsewhere, forge documents, build improved electronic gadgets in your garage that’ll outwit the gadgets used by the authorities.” – Philip K. Dick, author of Minority Report

On any given day, the average American going about his daily business will be monitored, surveilled, spied on and tracked in more than 20 different ways, by both government and corporate eyes and ears.

A byproduct of this new age in which we live, whether you’re walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency, whether the NSA or some other entity, is listening in and tracking your behavior. As I point out in my new book, A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, this doesn’t even begin to touch on the corporate trackers that monitor your purchases, web browsing, Facebook posts and other activities taking place in the cyber sphere.

The revelations by Edward Snowden only scrape the surface in revealing the lengths to which government agencies and their corporate allies will go to conduct mass surveillance on all communications and transactions within the United States.

Erected in secret, without any public input, these surveillance programs amount to an electronic concentration camp which houses every single person in the United States today. Indeed, government whistleblower Russ Tice, who exposed the NSA’s warrantless surveillance of American phone calls as far back as 2005, insists that despite Obama administration claims that the NSA is simply collecting metadata, the NSA is in fact retrieving “the contents of emails, text messages, Skype communications, and phone calls, as well as financial information, health records, legal documents, and travel documents.”

These communications are being stored in the NSA’s Utah Data Center, a massive $2 billion facility that will be handling yottabytes of data (equivalent to one septillion bytes—imagine a one followed by 24 zeroes) on American communications. This Utah facility is opening amidst a backlash against NSA surveillance. Most recently, the Obama administration and the NSA went into overdrive to quash an amendment sponsored by Justin Amash (R-Mich.) that would have cut off funds to the NSA if it collects surveillance data on American citizens who are not under criminal investigation. It was a bold move, especially when one considers that the NSA operates off a budget of approximately $10 billion. After all, when the government no longer listens to the citizenry—when it no longer abides by the Constitution, which is our rule of law—and when it views the citizenry as a source of funding and little else, we have no choice but to speak to the government in a language it understands—money.

Unfortunately, lobbyists and the Washington elite succeeded in defeating the amendment 217-205. Not surprisingly, many of those who voted down the bill were also recipients of campaign funds from the lucrative security/surveillance sector.

In the face of such powerful lobbyists working in tandem with our so-called representatives, any hope of holding onto even a shred of privacy is rapidly dwindling. Indeed, the life of the average American is an open book for government agents. As Senator Ron Wyden, a longtime critic of the American surveillance state, points out, government agencies operate based upon a secret interpretation of the Patriot Act which allows them to extract massive amounts of data from third party agencies, enabling them to collect information on “bulk medical, financial, credit card and gun-ownership records or lists of ‘readers of books and magazines deemed subversive.’”

Cell phones are equally vulnerable, serving as a “combination phone bug, listening device, location tracker and hidden camera.” Indeed, it’s incredibly easy to activate a cell phone’s GPS and microphone capabilities remotely. For example, the FBI uses the “roving bug” technique, which allows agents to remotely activate the microphone on a cellphone and use it as a listening device. A federal judge actually ruled in 2006 that this was a constitutional technique when it was used to listen to two alleged mobsters, despite the fact that no phone call was taking place at the time.

With private corporations also taking advantage of this technology, the outlook is decidedly grim. In an attempt to mimic the tracking capabilities of online retailers, brick-and-mortar stores now utilize WIFI-enabled devices to track the movements of their customers by tracking their phones as they move throughout the store. The data gathered by these devices include “‘capture rate’ (how successful window displays are at pulling people into the store); number of customers inside the store; customer visit duration and frequency; customer location within the store; people who walk by the store without coming in; and the amount of foot traffic around the store.”

Combined with facial recognition technology, our cell phones have become a tell-all about our personal lives. For example, one Russian marking company, Synqera, “uses facial recognition technology to tailor marketing messages to customers according to their gender, age, and mood.” As one company representative noted, “if you are an angry man of 30, and it is Friday evening, [the Synqera software] may offer you a bottle of whiskey.”

Americans cannot even drive their cars without being enmeshed in this web of surveillance. As confirmed by an ACLU report entitled, “You Are Being Tracked: How License Plate Readers Are Being Used to Record Americans’ Movements,” the latest developments in license plate readers enable law enforcement and private agencies to track the whereabouts of vehicles, and their occupants, all across the country.

License plate readers work by recognizing a passing license plate, photographing it, and running the information against a pre-determined database that lets police know if they’ve got a “hit,” a person of interest, though not necessarily a suspected criminal. There are reportedly tens of thousands of these license plate readers now affixed to police cars and underpasses in operation throughout the country. The data collected from these devices is also being shared between police agencies, as well as with fusion centers and private companies.

Indeed, while all drivers’ data is being collected, only a fraction of the data collected constitutes a “hit.” An even smaller fraction of those “hits” actually result in an arrest. Overall, the hit rate for criminal activity gleaned from the license pictures is usually between .01% and .3%, meaning that over 99% of the people being unnecessarily surveilled are entirely innocent.

The implications for privacy are dire. All of the data points collected by license plate readers can be traced and mapped so that a picture of a vehicle’s past movements can be re-constructed. Furthermore, the photographs produced by license plate readers “sometimes include a substantial part of a vehicle, its occupants, and its immediate vicinity.”

In addition to tracking tens of thousands of innocent people, the data collected by license plate readers is often kept far beyond any reasonable period of time. Data retention policies vary widely, from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, which deletes non-hits immediately, versus some localities which hold on to data for weeks, months, or years. Some localities hold on to the information indefinitely.

To cap it off, private companies are also getting into the data collection game, as data collected on innocent drivers is being shared between both government agencies and corporations. One such business, Final Notice, offers the information they gather to police agencies and intends to start selling the information to other groups soon, including bail bondsmen, private investigators, and insurers.

Another company, MVTrac, claims to have data on “a large majority” of vehicles in the US, and the Digital Recognition Network (DRN) claims to have a network of affiliates of more than 550. These affiliates feed over 50 million plate reads into a national database containing “over 700 million data points on where American drivers have been.”

This is the United States of America today, where liberty and privacy are the currency for any and all essential services. Short of living in a cave, cut off from all communications and commerce, anyone living in the concentration camp that is America today must cede his privacy and liberty to a government agency, a corporation, or both, in order to access information via the internet, communicate with friends and family, shop for food and clothing, or travel to work.

We have just about reached the point of no return. “If we do not seize this unique moment in our constitutional history to reform our surveillance laws and practices, we are all going to live to regret it,” warned Senator Wyden. “The combination of increasingly advanced technology with a breakdown in the checks and balances that limit government action could lead us to a surveillance state that cannot be reversed.”


TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 4thamendment; datamining; nsa; privacy; surveillance
In the face of such powerful lobbyists working in tandem with our so-called representatives, any hope of holding onto even a shred of privacy is rapidly dwindling. Indeed, the life of the average American is an open book for government agents. As Senator Ron Wyden, a longtime critic of the American surveillance state, points out, government agencies operate based upon a secret interpretation of the Patriot Act which allows them to extract massive amounts of data from third party agencies, enabling them to collect information on “bulk medical, financial, credit card and gun-ownership records or lists of ‘readers of books and magazines deemed subversive.’”
1 posted on 07/29/2013 2:09:43 PM PDT by xzins
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To: xzins
 photo FWmynewc.jpg
2 posted on 07/29/2013 2:13:07 PM PDT by umgud (2A can't survive dem majorities)
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To: xzins

NSA = Neo Stasi Agency


3 posted on 07/29/2013 2:14:48 PM PDT by null and void (You don't know what "cutting edge" means till you insult Mohammed.)
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To: xzins

It is well past time to start picking off the listeners from ambush.


4 posted on 07/29/2013 2:17:38 PM PDT by JimRed (Excise the cancer before it kills us; feed &water the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS, NOW & FOREVER!)
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To: umgud

If you exclusively use the email ID imamalimosque@gmail.com they’ll leave you alone.


5 posted on 07/29/2013 2:21:15 PM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: xzins
No. It needs to be dismantled.

The Constitution left law enforcement up to the people. Policing in the early United States was restrained to elected sheriffs.

6 posted on 07/29/2013 2:21:30 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (Islam offers choices: convert, submit, or die.)
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To: xzins

They can survey and watch, record and monitor my life infinitely, it is my secret plan. Gonna kill them with boredom. “look he’s taking out the trash”, now “he’s mowing the lawn”, “off to work”...

NSA needs to get a life, at least, one of their own.


7 posted on 07/29/2013 2:22:36 PM PDT by American in Israel (A wise man's heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)
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To: xzins

Understand they are working on recording how many times you flush your toilet so they tax it.


8 posted on 07/29/2013 2:23:32 PM PDT by Logical me
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: umgud

Wear very large sunglasses.


10 posted on 07/29/2013 2:24:31 PM PDT by PGR88
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To: Logical me
Understand they are working on recording how many times you flush your toilet so they tax it.

Forgot to mention they will call it crapper tax.

11 posted on 07/29/2013 2:25:43 PM PDT by Logical me
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To: xzins
We don't evade ...we destroy.

Evasion is just another war on poverty ... it never goes away, it costs a lot of money, a few lives and the wrongest politicians for America get elected/re-elected.

SOMEwhere along the line folks we just gott'a say .. NO.

12 posted on 07/29/2013 2:26:59 PM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: xzins
Soon enough, trying to evade them will be considered "suspicious behavior".

13 posted on 07/29/2013 2:28:26 PM PDT by BitWielder1 (Corporate Profits are better than Government Waste)
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To: Carry_Okie

Sheriffs only is a good idea.

It might be too late, though.

Internationally, the military should handle our enemies, and for those who injure us we should have a policy of massive retaliation/destruction.

Knock down the WTC, and we fire bomb one of your leading cities with no effort to build a democracy, to rebuild your country, or even to occupy you. The glorious leader’s residence becomes a holocaust and lights up the night.


14 posted on 07/29/2013 2:30:21 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for their victory!)
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To: Logical me

They do tax it. It’s called your “water bill”.

And if I had a toilet that actually flushed on the first attempt I wouldn’t have to flush a dozen times a day.

Thank you algore!


15 posted on 07/29/2013 2:32:33 PM PDT by null and void (You don't know what "cutting edge" means till you insult Mohammed.)
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To: xzins

Bttt.


16 posted on 07/29/2013 2:33:11 PM PDT by Inyo-Mono (NRA)
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To: American in Israel

:>)

The really sad thing, AII, is that there are those who want to tell you HOW to take out the trash, and who consider it important that they monitor your methods so they can force you to do it their way.

If you don’t sort your plastics by color, then the police are involved.


17 posted on 07/29/2013 2:33:32 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for their victory!)
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To: xzins
Can It Be Evaded?

Wear a hoodie everywhere.

-PJ

18 posted on 07/29/2013 2:34:16 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (If you are the Posterity of We the People, then you are a Natural Born Citizen.)
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To: xzins
"Erected in secret, without any public input, these surveillance programs amount to an electronic concentration camp which houses every single person in the United States today."
19 posted on 07/29/2013 2:37:01 PM PDT by Albion Wilde ("Remember... the first revolutionary was Satan."--Russian Orthodox Archpriest Dmitry Smirnov)
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To: xzins

God,this is frightening.

I remember when we worried that the other parties on our telephone line were listening.

.


20 posted on 07/29/2013 2:39:45 PM PDT by Mears
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To: xzins; Iwo Jima
To: Iwo Jima
I believe that the initial invasion of Iraq was an appropriate use of defensive and retaliatory force. Are you saying that you disagree?

Nope.

Although I would have done it differently, both in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Flatten the infrastructure
Kill the leaders
Break the countries up on ethnic lines
Set the ethnic groups at each other's throats
Walk away

The message is pretty clear, F with us, and you personally will die, we will destroy all you hold dear, and your country will simply cease to exist.

Nation building? *spit*

312 posted on Mon Sep 24 08:12:21 2007 by null and void (<---- Awake and filled with a terrible resolve...)

21 posted on 07/29/2013 2:41:29 PM PDT by null and void (You don't know what "cutting edge" means till you insult Mohammed.)
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To: xzins
If you don’t sort your plastics by color,...

That's Racist! Oh NOES!

22 posted on 07/29/2013 2:42:31 PM PDT by American in Israel (A wise man's heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)
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To: null and void

We agree.

Mess with us and expect a minimum ten-fold response. And no effort to assuage liberal guilt afterwards.


23 posted on 07/29/2013 2:43:52 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for their victory!)
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To: xzins
Can the genie be put back in the bottle?

Could Pandora close the box fast enough?

24 posted on 07/29/2013 2:45:00 PM PDT by fone (never give up, never give in)
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To: PGR88

Wear a wide brimmed hat made of tin foil with a layer of polarized plastic on top to confuse the drones.


25 posted on 07/29/2013 2:45:02 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: PGR88

Wear a wide brimmed hat made of tin foil with a layer of polarized plastic on top to confuse the drones.


26 posted on 07/29/2013 2:45:03 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: American in Israel

Actually had that happen to me in Germany with glass instead of plastic, iirc. :>)

It was a nut-job, busy-body neighbor who turned us in, but it actually happened. An innocent mistake on our part, putting the brown in with the green, but the next thing we knew we were being cursed out and the polizei were on their way.

A German neighbor friend straightened it out for us. (Never mess with the Polizei. :>)


27 posted on 07/29/2013 2:46:47 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for their victory!)
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To: xzins
These communications are being stored in the NSA’s Utah Data Center

So, why are the msm including new the massive NSA Data Center in San Antonio, TX?

28 posted on 07/29/2013 3:18:17 PM PDT by bgill (This reply was mined before it was posted.)
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To: xzins

Isn’t it funny that society rejects Gods laws for “freedom” and ends up writing billions of stupid laws to replace the ten commandments.


29 posted on 07/29/2013 3:35:04 PM PDT by American in Israel (A wise man's heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)
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To: xzins

FYI, my fight:

1. I don’t have a cell phone. If I did, the battery would be removed unless I was using it. I would recharge it overnight off the cigarette lighter in my truck - foils the bad guys using it as a microphone or using the camera. Did you know there’s a smaller battery inside your cell phone that powers the GPS when the phone is off or the battery removed? This battery can’t be turned off. In my cell phone it would be disconnected.

2. I’ve quit using Google almost completely. I use Startpage or Ixquick. Google results without all the tracking. DuckDuckGo also offers trackless searching.

3. The PrivacyBlock Tracker Block add-on is in my browser.

4. Ghostery software reports on and blocks the trackers used by web sites. For instance, FR uses just one tracker, Google Analytics. I’ve been on sites that have 20 or more trackers.

5. I have several throw-away gmail email addresses. These are used anytime I don’t want to use my personal email address.

6. I’ve quit using my credit/debit card. I withdraw cash from the ATM and pay for stuff with cash. Granted, you can’t buy from Amazon with cash. For that I use the card. But I don’t use the card anymore than absolutely necessary.

7. Most important: I do not participate in any social media whatsoever. This frustrates friends who want me to friend them. Tough, it’s MY privacy.

I realize that even with all these precautions I’m still tracked. But I’m doing what I can to be invisible. I won’t make it easy for the bastards.

I’m in complete agreement with Sen Wyden’s sentiment in the last paragraph and will do what ever I can to shut down this tracking invasion.


30 posted on 07/29/2013 3:45:54 PM PDT by upchuck (To the faceless, jack-booted government bureaucrat who just scanned this post: SCREW YOU!)
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To: xzins
and when it views the citizenry as a source of funding and little else, we have no choice but to speak to the government in a language it understands—money.

This is actually mostly wrong. Yes, the feral government (at all levels) is interested in extracting the maximum amount of money that it can from you, but it's not something they actually respond to. The only thing that actually has any effect on government at all is violence. The poverty pimps have figured this out, but thankfully, at the moment the violence they can direct is not very well targeted. As a matter of fact, most of the time the poverty pimps are able to manufacture some violence, it mostly happends within the plantation property itself, and doesn't really spill over much into more civilized areas. So, as a method of shaking down the slave masters a bit for the benefits of the pimps themselves, it works OK as a bludgeon and keeps the swiss bank accounts of those directing one or two rings of the circus like sharpton, jackson, and their ilk, it has apparently been recognised by those orchestrating the 'spontaneous' violence that their primary tactic has perhaps reached the point of diminishing returns.

You can see the change in this latest exercise in Florida. If you listen closely to the press that is acting as the pimp's mouthpieces that there is a not so subtle change in the direction they are pushing their brainwashed masses. It's obvious if you are paying attention that they do not want them to just riot in place. They are trying to push them out into the 'burb's more civilized environments. If nothing else, they want to make whitey, and by extension, anyone that is not a part of their jungle-like enclaves uncomfortable enough to shake loose some real money, and also to generally turn the heat up a little in society in general.

You'll notice that one of the side-effects of their racheting things up has been a merked increase of folks who are armed pretty much full time.  This is why they are so desperate to bring their 'duty to retreat' mindset into areas where it is a foreign concept.  You see, they don't want to you know that you can exert a rather disproportionate effect on a mob  with a relatively small application of couter-force.

Sorry folks, I've gone a bit afield of there I originally intended to go. To be more on-topic to the article, we need to start working on ways to seriously do some damage to their data-collection efforts. I'm thinking it is way past time we started introducing some serious  pressure against the police state's hardware. There is a lot of it out there folks, and there are many targets of opportunity. It would have been better to have started seriously taking the devices out when they were first deploying them,  but it's better late than never.. I remember distinctly being called a tin-foiler here on FR when I started making note of the cameras going up.  I think a lot less folks are snickering about it now. 

Personally, I think we've gotten to the point now, that anyone making comments about tin-foil needs to be  laughed at and ridiculed.  Seriously folks. I mean, if they are so disconnected and uninformed, isn't laughter appropriate?

31 posted on 07/29/2013 8:26:46 PM PDT by zeugma (Be a truechimer, not a falseticker!)
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To: Albion Wilde
"Erected in secret, without any public input, these surveillance programs amount to an electronic concentration camp which houses every single person in the United States today."

It wasn't done in secret, it was being done in the open. Congress made it slightly harder, but Bush and Cheney and the others in their administration made damn sure it was going to survive one way or the other. FReepers were keeping track of it.

Total Information Awareness (TIA) System - Nov 25, 2002 (Free Republic)

EPIC.org Total Information Awareness (TIA) News Nov 25, 2002 (Free Republic)

Critics say Defense 'Total Information Awareness' Impractical - Dec 12, 2002 (Free Republic)

TOTAL INFORMATION AWARENESS (TIA) UPDATE - Feb 7, 2003 (Free Republic)

Pentagon spy database funding revealed (Total Information Awareness ) - Feb 27, 2003 (Free Republic)

Total Information Awareness Project Undergoes First Test - Apr 10, 2003 (Free Republic)

U.S. Pressing for High-Tech Spy Tools (Total Information Awareness) - Feb 22, 2004 (Free Republic)

U.S. Still Mining Terror Data (Total Information Awareness Program) - Feb 23, 2004 (Free Republic)

Total Information Awareness - Mar 8, 2007 (Free Republic)
32 posted on 07/29/2013 10:17:50 PM PDT by af_vet_rr
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To: zeugma
Sorry folks, I've gone a bit afield of there I originally intended to go. To be more on-topic to the article, we need to start working on ways to seriously do some damage to their data-collection efforts. I'm thinking it is way past time we started introducing some serious pressure against the police state's hardware. There is a lot of it out there folks, and there are many targets of opportunity. It would have been better to have started seriously taking the devices out when they were first deploying them, but it's better late than never.. I remember distinctly being called a tin-foiler here on FR when I started making note of the cameras going up. I think a lot less folks are snickering about it now.

You are way overthinking this.

You want to put some pressure on the police state? You look at everybody that you can vote for in Congress, and you find out if they support the destruction of the 4th Amendment. If they do, you boot their asses out. You don't let them try and weasel their way out of it. You just vote them out of office.

And every single election you vote in, you keep doing this, until finally you have people in Congress who are there to look after the rights of the voters, not look after the government's interests, or that of its various defense and intelligence contractors.

Because what you are talking about is just delaying the inevitable and playing right into the liberals' hands. There is a reason that scumbags like Christie are nervous and are out there attacking people like Rand Paul.

Our only hope is to vote every police state-loving Democrat and Republican out of office.
33 posted on 07/29/2013 10:27:41 PM PDT by af_vet_rr
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To: af_vet_rr
It wasn't done in secret, it was being done in the open. Congress made it slightly harder, but Bush and Cheney and the others in their administration made damn sure it was going to survive one way or the other. FReepers were keeping track of it.
Total Information Awareness (TIA) System - Nov 25, 2002 (Free Republic)
EPIC.org Total Information Awareness (TIA) News Nov 25, 2002 (Free Republic)
Critics say Defense 'Total Information Awareness' Impractical - Dec 12, 2002 (Free Republic)
TOTAL INFORMATION AWARENESS (TIA) UPDATE - Feb 7, 2003 (Free Republic)
Pentagon spy database funding revealed (Total Information Awareness ) - Feb 27, 2003 (Free Republic)
Total Information Awareness Project Undergoes First Test - Apr 10, 2003 (Free Republic)
U.S. Pressing for High-Tech Spy Tools (Total Information Awareness) - Feb 22, 2004 (Free Republic)
U.S. Still Mining Terror Data (Total Information Awareness Program) - Feb 23, 2004 (Free Republic)
Total Information Awareness - Mar 8, 2007 (Free Republic)


Thank you for your assiduous research. It is really an eyeopener; especially the description of EPIC. Horrifying.

34 posted on 07/31/2013 2:32:29 PM PDT by Albion Wilde ("Remember... the first revolutionary was Satan."--Russian Orthodox Archpriest Dmitry Smirnov)
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