Privacy: Total Information Awareness Programs and Related Information Access, Collection, and Protection Laws [Updated March 21, 2003] [open pdf - 141KB]
"This report describes the Total Information Awareness (TIA) programs in the Defense Research Projects Agency (DARPA) of the Department of Defense, and related information access, collection, and protection laws. TIA is a new technology under development that plans to use data mining technologies to sift through personal transactions in electronic data to find patterns and associations connected to terrorist threats and activities. Data mining technologies are currently used by federal agencies for various purposes. DARPA has underway a five year research project to develop and integrate information technologies into prototype systems to identify foreign terrorists for use by the intelligence, counterintelligence, law enforcement, and homeland security communities. Recent increased awareness about the existence of the TIA project provoked expressions of concern about the potential for the invasion of privacy of law-abiding citizens by the Government, and about the direction of the project by John Poindexter, a central figure in the Iran-Contra affair. While the law enforcement and intelligence communities argue that more sophisticated information gathering techniques are essential to combat today's sophisticated terrorists, civil libertarians worry that the Governments increased capability to assemble information will result in increased and unchecked government power, and the erosion of individual privacy. A coalition of public interest groups has asked Congress to intervene."
CRS Report for Congress, RL31730