I searched for this story on ATS, and did a text search of the first ten pages of both this and the breaking news forums, and couldn't find this story
anywhere else. If it has already been posted, my apologies.
This is merely the latest incarnation and manifestation of the ongoing data mining and domestic surveillance apparatus that has been pushed with
seemingly undeterred persistence in recent decades. We therefore need to place this in a (recent) historical context.
Most are likely familiar with some of the widely known examples of these programs, such as the more international in scope Echelon. (And before it, of
McCarthy era surveillance, CIA programs directed at citizens as far back as the 1940s, etc.) But I want to just deal with recent history.
Although known about or suspected long prior to then, as early as 1999 there were credible news reports in the mainstream media of Echelon, among
other similar domestic surveillance projects. In 2000 the CIA and NSA both very publicly refused to disavow the existence of Echelon. In 2001, the
European Union parliament declared that Echelon does indeed exist, and that it is accessed and maintained by five countries including the United
States. That year also brought us the PATRIOT Act, which greatly expanded the ability of the intelligence and national security agencies to conduct
domestic surveillance under broadly interpretable circumstances.
In 2002, Operation TIPS became an international mainstream news concern. This program encouraged private employees like contractors, electricians,
cable technicians, etc. to report any suspicious events, objects, or activity in citizens' homes to the program. This may sound incredibly draconian
and unbelievable, but that's precisely what the program called for. Its increased visibility and controversy led to congress prohibiting the project
later that year. However, DARPA's Total Information Awareness program also came to light the same year. TIA incorporated all manner of data mining,
surveillance, and analysis disciplines and technologies into a comprehensive attempt to generate the most robust possible information awareness
2003 brought us the MATRIX data mining program. This was an interstate program designed to combine data mining with pattern recognition and potential
associations with terrorist plots to predict terrorist behavior before it took place. The same year year, TIA was defunded by congress, however
offshoots and subsidiary projects within the program continued under different names for years, and may still persist. In 2004 states began to pull
out of the MATRIX program, and it was shut down in 2005 due to public privacy concerns.
A similar program, but one focused solely on air travel, is known as CAPPS. Its more invasive successor, CAPPS II, would have used similar data mining
techniques to examine citizens' travel habits, purchasing associations, and behaviors as trackable through commercial and government transactions and
databases, to assign color coded terror threat assessments to travelers. CAPPS suffered from false positives, including, superficially amusingly, Ted
Kennedy. The latter program was shut down in 2004, but was to be replaced by SecureFlight, a program less focused on data mining in theory, instead
using government No Fly lists (which are themselves however derived from data mining and domestic surveillance in many instances.)
In 2005, the DoD's TALON surveillance database came under fire for including anti-war protesters and other non-terrorism related persons. The same
year, the President admitted that NSA domestic surveillance was a reality, and stated his intent to continue to use these capabilities.
The list goes on and on. There has been and is a persistent, undeterred, concerted effort to establish ever greater data mining and surveillance of
domestic citizens of both the U.S. and in many instances its allies, both unilaterally and in conjunction with other nations. It is one of the
special areas of conspiracy theory where there is more fact than theory; where one cannot simply dismiss people's concerns as paranoia in my opinion.
It seems to persist regardless of political party, regardless of the given administration in power at the time, and regardless of other branches of
government seeking to defund, thwart, or shut down such programs.
All of the above information was reported by mainstream news sites, for which I can provide links, however the links are no longer active and thus
It is important that we remain aware of such programs and, perhaps more alarmingly, the trend toward their expansion, persistence, and implementation
in spite of all obstacles to the contrary.
edit on 12/16/2012 by AceWombat04 because: Added info, typos.