Tuesday, December 3rd, 2002

The Total Information Awareness System is a program being developed by former Reaganite Admiral John Poindexter for the Pentagon. It’s an attempt to link computer databases to create a vast system of information that could be used supposedly to combat terrorism. What kind of data? Credit card purchases, car rentals, phone calls, bank deposits, you name it. The quotidian stuff you do everyday. Those of you who have been following the aftermath of the Patriot Act will recognize the convergence of technology, surveillance, and right-wing ideology that the war has enabled here. It’s about as close to a National ID system as the government can get without Congressional approval and a Presidential signature, and, in some respects, it’s much worse.

For background, you can go to the home page for the Information Awareness Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Remember that acronym, it could haunt us down the line.

The ACLU has a good overview here. And even Newsday is beginning to sound the alarm in this editorial. Finally, here’s Ted Rall’s take on AlterNet. Rall’s cartoons haven’t been that funny lately. But what’s to laugh at these days?

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