Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/02/28/total_poindexter_awareness_tech_spooks/

Total Poindexter Awareness tech spooks – a Who's Who

Weren't we not supposed to know this?

By Andrew Orlowski

Posted in Software, 28th February 2003 19:34 GMT

INSECURITY LEVEL: PINK

One of the great post-War technology trends has been reversed since 9/11, almost without any noticing.

For many years now technology that was developed for military use, or with the help of military funding, has found a commercial civilian use. Think of the Internet, or CDMA.

But what we're seeing now - and this mirrors the militarization of so much of civilian life - is the reverse. Apparently civilian technologies such as Groove's Peer to Peer system are being repurposed as surveillance technologies. And as the spooks welcome the technology companies, the technology companies reciprocate: welcoming them onto their boards.

What can foreign policy maven Richard Perle [bio - lives on in Google cache] add to Autonomy? A hitherto unnoted expertise on Bayesian modelling? Somehow, I think not.

This cosy relationship doesn't always help the vendor.

The presence of veteran spook Brent Scowcroft on the Qualcomm board can't help too much when your staff are being arrested overseas on espionage charges. (Qualcomm denied the charge, and adding to the murk, the founder's own laptop was subsequently mysteriously swiped, prompting a hilarious apology from the Wall Street Journal about failing to protect information. However, we digress.

The Electronic Information Privacy Center has obtained a list of contractors and what they're working on. You can read a summary here and EPIC's more detailed correspondence here. And fascinating it is too.

One thought that occurred to us as we were watching these shadowy organisations blinking in daylight was they really would rather we didn't know precisely what they're up to.

We shall be ringing Ms. Michelle Tavares of Hicks & Assoc. Inc. of Arlington, VA in an attempt to understand what Threat-based Adaptive Red Teaming and Experimentation really is.

That's the trouble with Total Poindexter Awareness.

It's bi-directional. ®

Many thanks to Jorn Barger for drawing our attention to so many of these connections.