Skip to comments.EPIC.org Total Information Awareness (TIA) News
Posted on 11/25/2002 12:57:08 PM PST by winner45
Total Information Awareness (TIA)
Introduction | News | Resources
The Total Information Awareness project is part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Information Awareness Office. The office is headed by Admiral (retired) John Poindexter who is responsible for conceiving the project. TIA purports to capture the "information signature" of people so that the government can track potential terrorists and criminals involved in "low-intensity/low-density" forms of warfare and crime. The goal is to track individuals through collecting as much information about them as possible and using computer algorithms and human analysis to detect potential activity.
The project calls for the development of "revolutionary technology for ultra-large all-source information repositories," which would contain information from multiple sources to create a "virtual, centralized, grand database." This database would be populated by transaction data contained in current databases such as financial records, medical records, communication records, and travel records as well as new sources of information. Also fed into the database would be intelligence data.
A key component of the TIA project is to develop data-mining or knowledge discovery tools that will sort through the massive amounts of information to find patterns and associations. TIA will also develop search tools such as Project Genoa, which Admiral Poindexter's former employer Syntek Technologies, assisted in developing. TIA aims to fund the development of more such tools and data-mining technology to help analysts understand and even "preempt" future action.
A further crucial component is the development of biometric technology to enable the identification and tracking of individuals. DARPA has already funded its "Human ID at a Distance" program, which aims to positively identify people from a distance through technologies such as face recognition or gait recognition. A nationwide identification system would be of great assistance to such a project by providing an easy means to track individuals across multiple information sources.
DARPA's Broad Agency Announcement 02-08 soliciting proposals from industry states that the initial plan is for a five year research project into these various technologies. The interim goal is to build "leave-behind prototypes with a limited number of proof-of-concept demonstrations in extremely high risk, high payoff areas." The FBI and the Transportation Security Administration are also working on data-mining projects that will fuse commercial databases, public databases, and intelligence data and had meetings with TIA developers.
- TIA System Description (PDF, 4.5 MB).
- Poindexter's August 2002 Speech.
- Booz Allen Hamilton defense contract, $62 million awarded for research into Total Information Awareness project.
- Pentagon Briefing Transcript on Surveillance System. November 20, 2002.
- DARPA Technology briefings. August 2002 (see under "Information Awareness Office").
DARPA FY03 budget. For TIA budget details see sections on PE 0602301E, Project ST-28 and PE 0603760E, Project CCC-01, and PE 0602301E, Project ST-11.
- ACLU Action Alert on Total Information Awareness.
- Really 'Big Brother': Given its potential to invade the privacy of everyone, the Total Information Awareness program should be shut down before it starts, St. Petersburg Times Editorial, November 24, 2002.
- If You're Not Paranoid, You Oughta' Be Salt Lake Tribune, November 24, 2002.
- In the Name of Security, New York Times, November 23, 2002.
- FBI's Increased Powers Under Spotlight. Financial Times, November 21, 2002.
- Pentagon Defends Anti-Terror Project. Associated Press, November 21, 2002.
- Fighting Terror By Terrifying U.S. Citizens. San Francisco Chronicle, November 20, 2002.
- Total Information Unawareness. Government Executive, November 20, 2002.
- Massive Database Dragnet Explored. San Jose Mercury News, November 20, 2002.
- No Orwellian Scheme Behind DARPA's Total Information Awareness System. Heritage Foundation WebMemo, November 20, 2002.
- A Snooper's Dream. New York Times, Editorial, November 18, 2002.
- 'Big Brother' looming larger. Arizona Republic, November 18, 2002.
- Big Brother Goes to Washington. Newsweek, November 18, 2002.
- Electronic snoops will make us open books. St. Petersburg Times, November 17, 2002.
- Security and privacy. The Commercial Appeal (Memphis), November 16, 2002.
- Don't let homeland defense damage citizens' rights. Houston Chronicle, November 15, 2002.
- What price security?.The Plain Dealer, November 15, 2002.
- A government without brakes?. Press & Sun-Bulletin (NY), November 15, 2002.
- Orwell's nightmare. Times-Picayune (New Orleans), November 15, 2002.
- Homeland bill a supersnoop's dream. Washington Times, November 15, 2002.
- Total Information Awareness. Washington Post, Editorial, November 15, 2002.
- Domestic Snooping; Bedrock Values Matter Even In These Dangerous Times. Charlotte Observer, November 15, 2002.
- You Are A Suspect. William Safire, New York Times, November 14, 2002.
- U.S. Hopes to Check Computers Globally. Washington Post, November 12, 2002.
- Pentagon Plans a Computer System That Would Peek at Personal Data of Americans. New York Times, November 9, 2002.
- Terrorist-tracking tools. National Journal, September 10, 2002.
- Data mining aims at national security. Federal Computer Week, March 4, 2002.
Related EPIC Resources
Last Updated: November 25, 2002
Page URL: http://www.epic.org/privacy/profiling/tia/default.html
Rep. Armey: Homeland Security Bill Does not Authorize TIA. Communications Daily reports that Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) said that the Homeland Security Bill " does not authorize, fund or move into the department anything like it (Total Information Awareness)." He further stated that the use of data mining tools in the bill are " intended solely to authorize the use of advanced techniques to sift through existing intelligence data, not to open a new method of intruding lawful, everyday transactions of American citizens." (Nov. 25)
Emphasis mine. This is a potentially a good use for this agency.
Contrary to a statement of a Defense Department spokesperson that the TIA budget is $10 million, DARPA documents show that it is $245 million for fiscal years 2001-2003.
Yeah, $10 million is diddly for that kind of a project. But I have a suggestion. Spend that $10 million to send 50,000 investigators to a basic class on how to write SQL queries - because a simple one would have identified the DC snipers' Caprice as a lead in their database. A lot of this stuff isn't rocket science.
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