Although most parts of the Pentagon's "Total Information Awareness" program were eliminated by the US Congress, some projects did made it
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In addition, Congress left undisturbed a separate but similar $64 million research program run by a little-known office called the Advanced Research
and Development Activity, or ARDA, that has used some of the same researchers as Poindexter's program.
"The whole congressional action looks like a shell game," said Steve Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists, which tracks work by U.S.
intelligence agencies. "There may be enough of a difference for them to claim TIA was terminated while for all practical purposes the identical work
Poindexter aimed to predict terrorist attacks by identifying telltale patterns of activity in arrests, passport applications, visas, work permits,
driver's licenses, car rentals and airline ticket buys as well as credit transactions and education, medical and housing records.
The research created a political uproar because such reviews of millions of transactions could put innocent Americans under suspicion. One of
Poindexter's own researchers, David D. Jensen at the University of Massachusetts, acknowledged that "high numbers of false positives can result."
Disturbed by the privacy implications, Congress last fall closed Poindexter's office, part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and
barred the agency from continuing most of his research. Poindexter quit the government and complained that his work had been misunderstood.
The work, however, did not die.
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[Edited on 23-2-2004 by Zion Mainframe]