Magazine article Information Management

Senate Votes to End Terrorism Information Awareness Project

Magazine article Information Management

Senate Votes to End Terrorism Information Awareness Project

Article excerpt

By any name, the Pentagon's proposed terrorism surveillance program --Terrorism Information Awareness (TIA), formerly known as Total Information Awareness--has raised privacy concerns in the United States and around the world.

In a military spending bill it recently passed unanimously, the U.S. Senate forbade the Defense Department from spending any portion of its $369 billion budget on the TIA program, despite a request from the Bush administration to keep development efforts intact.

"No funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the Department of Defense ... or to any other department, agency, or element of the federal government, may be obligated or expended on research and development on the Terrorism Information Awareness program," the bill stated.

The TIA plan, which was being developed and tested under the supervision of retired admiral John Poindexter, would have developed computer software that can scan vast public and private databases of commercial transactions and personal data around the world to provide advance warning of terrorist attacks. In an analysis of the proposed defense bill sent to the Senate before the vote, the administration contended that to strip TIA funding "would deny an important potential tool in the war on terrorism."

Concern that the records of millions of law-abiding Americans would be subjected to government scrutiny prompted Congress earlier this year to enact an amendment proposed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D. …

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