posted on Jun, 25 2003 @ 06:51 PM
A report from the Terrorism Information Awareness program contains a major loophole that allows the government to data mine "everything under the
sun" including medical and credit records, says the top Senate Democrat on privacy issues.
The report said the program to track terrorists will use information collected and analyzed that is "legally obtained and usable by the federal
government under existing law."
Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said vast amounts of data can be legally obtained, including consumer information purchased from private companies.
"That's basically everything under the sun, all kinds of stuff can be bought from private firms. All of that can be obtained legally, and that
would just be some of it," Mr. Wyden said.
Congress mandated the report on the program — labeled by some critics as a "supersnoop" — that is under design by the Pentagon to track
terrorists. The program became such a magnet of criticism from civil-liberty advocates that when the report came due May 20, the program's name was
changed from Total Information Awareness to Terrorism Information Awareness (TIA).
"I will fight strongly the proposition that TIA will be used to analyze everything collected in a legal fashion. That loophole is so big you
could drive five trucks through it," Mr. Wyden said.
The report was required under legislation authored by Mr. Wyden and also requires congressional approval before the program can use new
In a letter yesterday to Anthony Tether, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Mr. Wyden said the report failed to address
numerous privacy and civil-liberty issues, including whether U.S. citizens will be used voluntarily or involuntarily when technologies are tested.
The program would collect personal information from driver's licenses, airline tickets, arrest reports, visas and work permits to analyze and
predict terrorist attacks.