Feeds

Congress threatens two hi-tech Gestapo programs

TIA, CAPPS II in crosshairs

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The US Senate this week proposed denying funds to two Orwellian surveillance programs sought by the Bush Administration.

The Pentagon's Total Information Awareness (TIA) program has come under attack in the Senate and may see its funding shut off. The 2004 defense appropriations bill contains a provision that would deny it any financial support.

The House has got its own TIA obstacle in the works, but not so bold a one as the Senate is contemplating. The two versions will likely have to be reconciled in a conference committee, but it is a fair bet that TIA's wings will be clipped.

Research for the Big Brother scheme is being conducted by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), under the guidance of Iran-Contra scandal alumnus and convicted felon Admiral John Poindexter.

The TIA program has since had its name changed from Total Information Awareness to Terrorism Information Awareness, but for some reason this sophisticated dodge appears not to have fooled Congress.

In a related development, the Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System (CAPPS II), a scheme to query government and commercial databases for background on every person attempting to buy a plane ticket, has been held up pending a report by the General Accounting Office (GAO), a Congressional watchdog outfit.

The scheme would have assigned a score of "green", "yellow" or "red" to prospective passengers based on financial and other records. Greens would get the usual pat-down and x-ray routine; yellows would be singled out for additional security harassment; and reds would be grounded. There appears to be no mechanism for correcting database errors and false information if one is given an unjustly low score. Worse, those with imperfect scores could have that information passed on to law enforcement agencies and other bureaux of the national security apparatus without warning and with no way to set the record straight if the information on them should be bad.

The CAPPS II system, like its predecessor CAPPS, is a product of Defense industry giant Lockheed Martin, a company for which US Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta served as Veep. The contract award is in keeping with the Bush Administration's tradition of diverting vast amounts of public money to the coffers of corporations with ties to its chief players. ®

Related Stories

US gov's 'ultimate database' run by a felon
Total Poindexter Awareness: essential information
Total Poindexter Awareness tech spooks - a Who's Who

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.