Feeds

TIA lives? Report lists US gov 'dataveillance' activities

Multiple Total Information Awareness?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

3 Big data security analytics techniques

A report on US government data mining indicates that the Total Information Awareness project, cancelled last year, is in some senses alive and well. The General Accounting Office lists a total of 199 projects, 122 of which use personal information and 54 of which use data from the private sector. The largest number of the projects have improvement in performance or service as a stated objective, but the GAO lists 14 "analyzing intelligence and detecting terrorist activities", and 15 "detecting criminal activities or patterns."

The report was requested by Democratic Senator Daniel Akaka following controversy around TIA, and Akaka comments: "I am disturbed by the high number of data mining activities in the federal government involving personal information. The federal government collects and uses Americans' personal information and shares it with other agencies to an astonishing degree, raising serious privacy concerns. I doubt if the American public realizes the extent to which the federal government collects and uses their personal information and the degree to which their information is shared with other agencies."

He added that the report's findings demonstrated the need for policies and safeguards such as those recommended earlier this month by the Technology and Privacy Advisory Committee.

The complete record of federal data mining activities (obviously, non-federal ones such as MATRIX aren't covered here) includes predictable ones from predictable organisations, e.g. Homeland Security's Incident Data Mart, which will check for patterns in law enforcement incidents, or the FBI's Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force Activity, which uses DHS, FBI and "public" data sources with a view to keeping terrorists out of the US. But the Department of Energy also has several 'counterintelligence' systems tracking foreign visitors to, or terrorist/criminal activity at, DOE facilities. And the Department of Education has the slightly worryingly-named OIG - Project Strikeback, comparing its records with those of the FBI with the object of "analyzing intelligence and detecting terrorist activities."

Taken as a whole, the various terror- and crime-related projects add up to something that looks remarkably like Total Information Awareness, the difference here being that there's no longer a single big project for Congress to shoot at, just a large and fast-growing (68 of the 199 are at planning stage) number of data mining operations with little in the way of regulation or oversight. ®

Related links:

GAO report

Akaka press release

'Spot the terrorist' system was pitched to Cheney by Jeb Bush

Congress threatens two hi-tech Gestapo programs


EPIC TIA page

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.