Feeds

Pentagon bins home-front threat database

Nobody in it but boring pacifists

The essential guide to IT transformation

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. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
True fact: 1 in 4 Brits are now TERRORISTS
YouGov poll reveals terrible truth about the enemy within
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
NBN Co claims 96 mbps download speeds for FTTN trial
Umina trial also delivers 30 mbps uploads, but exact rig used not revealed
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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?