Feeds

Pentagon bins home-front threat database

Nobody in it but boring pacifists

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The Pentagon moved yesterday to shut down a controversial military database used to record possible threats to the US services inside America.

Reuters reports that officials gave a cutoff date of 17 September for the so-called Talon system. After this, defence personnel will still report suspicious activities around military bases - the main source of Talon information - but the data will henceforth be sent to the FBI.

Talon has been understood to stand for Threat and Local Observation Notices, but a Pentagon spokesman said yesterday that originally it was just a name.

The system has been widely criticised in America for maintaining information on harmless anti-war protesters, rather than potentially violent threats to US forces and facilities. The Pentagon itself said in 2006 that there was information of this kind in the system which should have been deleted, and pledged to do so in future cases.

Opponents of the system criticised the decision to maintain Talon in operation at that point, but it went ahead anyway. Now the Pentagon says it is closing Talon, not due to criticism but because it isn't any use.

"The analytical value of it was pretty slim," Colonel Gary Keck told reporters yesterday.

Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence James Clapper assessed the results of a year's Talon collections this April and concluded that the system wasn't worthwhile. It wasn't clear whether this was because the database was still full of worthless reports on peacenik hippies, or because it didn't have anything in it at all.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) watchdog was glad the database had been shut down, but said there were still questions to be answered.

"The TALON program could be just the tip of the iceberg," according to a statement by Caroline Fredericks of the ACLU Washington legislative office.

"It remains critical that Congress investigate how the abuse of the TALON database happened in the first place and conduct proper oversight of other intrusive surveillance by the executive branch."

The Reuters report is here. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
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?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.