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t.i.a. t 'n a

<< Feb 3, 2006 @ 00:27 >>

It's called Total Information Awareness (TIA). Basically, some guy in Florida who worked for one of those asshole database companies that keeps a record of your phone number and everything you've ever done so that they can try to sell you stuff... well, on September 11, 2001 he watched the towers fall down and decided to run some custom queries on this database of U.S. citizens. He came up with a list of names the government should investigate.

And the government got a hard-on.

So now, the government spy agencies are mining the data in these corporate consumer databases for bad guys. The same database technology that suggests what other books you might want to buy when you go to amazon.com... the same database technology that decides which telemarketers and mail-order deal vendors should contact you... they are using that to figure out which ones of us are terrorists.

Now, Congress caught wind of this and supposedly they shut it down and cut off the funding because of the privacy concerns. Taken from the book, and American RadioWorks documentary, on this very subject titled "No Place to Hide:"

In 2003, Poindexter resigned and Congress cancelled TIA, which, by then, had been renamed "Terrorism Information Awareness." That ended the story. Or so it seemed.

Why am I talking about this? What brought this subject up? Well, I happened across this horrifying New York Times article where Senators are told three times, "we can't answer that in open session."

One of these questions that could not be answered in public was about Total Information Awareness:

Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, pressed the intelligence officials about whether a controversial Pentagon data-mining program called Total Information Awareness had been effectively transferred to the intelligence agencies after being shut down by Congress.

Then came the turn of Gen. Michael V. Hayden, who headed N.S.A. for six years before becoming the principal deputy director of national intelligence last spring.

"Senator," General Hayden said, "I'd like to answer in closed session.""

Well, that settles that.

Now, when I read this unpleasant account of a Senator's questions about TIA getting dodged, I immediately thought of the documentary "No Place to Hide" because yours truly worked on it (read: transcribed the audio). Look for me in the credits!

Let me tell you... and this was an eye opener for me from working there... journalists aren't into reporting everything. They moderate what they report. There were hours of tape – interviews with the parties relevant to this government data mining – that were as fascinating as they were terrifying. And this tape never made it into the radio program or onto the website. I wish I had the raw transcripts to share with you.

And in some sort of cosmic coincidence, who's on the Daily Show tonight? Robert O'Harrow! The guy who wrote the "No Place to Hide" book. That's just weird.

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Reader Comments...

February 3, 2006 @ 07:25:27

suits.png74 (#074)

Thanks a lot Zach, they just finally convinced me to take off my foil helmet-

February 3, 2006 @ 07:49:47

coleco.pngxopl (#001)

I've got a double layer.

February 3, 2006 @ 08:58:45

broccoli.pngnot TKwong (guest)

My helmet is made of pure Satan-Approved (tm) baby's bones.

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