Senator tries to cut TIA funding

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is trying to cut off all money for a Defense Department system known as Total Information Awareness that would develop technology to gather vast amounts of information on American citizens.

The project, which is being overseen by former national security adviser John Poindexter, is at the center of a political storm involving both Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill who want congressional hearings before the system continues.

Wyden went a step further Jan. 15 by introducing an amendment to the huge spending bill for fiscal 2003 to prohibit funds for the program.

"Adm. Poindexter is proposing a radical departure from standard means of surveillance by proposing to use a bulldozer rather than a fine-toothed comb," Wyden said in a statement. "The creation of a gigantic data surveillance system that scoops up intimate details about an individual's personal behavior without their consent is a danger."

Wyden also wants a list of all federal agencies that would be interested in using TIA and why, and he also seeks suggestions on how to develop the technology to "protect the privacy and civil liberties of U.S. citizens."

Poindexter, a retired Navy rear admiral, was a central figure in the Iran-Contra scandal in the 1980s. He now heads the Information Awareness Office, which began developing methods a year ago to use data surveillance and profiling technology that can analyze reams of data from everyday transactions — including credit card purchases and travel records — in an effort to detect the activities of terrorists.

Featured

  • Defense
    Soldiers from the Old Guard test the second iteration of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) capability set during an exercise at Fort Belvoir, VA in Fall 2019. Photo by Courtney Bacon

    IVAS and the future of defense acquisition

    The Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System has been in the works for years, but the potentially multibillion deal could mark a paradigm shift in how the Defense Department buys and leverages technology.

  • Cybersecurity
    Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lora Ratliff)

    Mayorkas announces cyber 'sprints' on ransomware, ICS, workforce

    The Homeland Security secretary announced a series of focused efforts to address issues around ransomware, critical infrastructure and the agency's workforce that will all be launched in the coming weeks.

Stay Connected