The Roots Of Today’s Tyranny: Total Information Awareness (D. Broze, 2016)

The Roots Of Today’s Tyranny: Total Information Awareness

June 23, 2016

Big Brother Watching Derrick Broze, Contributor

Waking Times

To understand the roots of the oppression, erosion of liberties, and invasion of privacy that has become the new norm for Americans, we must go back to the days following the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

Immediately following the attacks of September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush was promising Americans that he would exact revenge on those who dare attack the empire. Dubya’s program of “Shock and Awe” gave the American public an upfront look at what the U.S. military was prepared to do to the enemies of “freedom and democracy.” The bombing of Iraq was only the beginning of a larger conflict that the Bush Administration dubbed “The Global War on Terror.”

The War on Terror did not end in the physical battlefield, however. The U.S. government was determined to root out all possible terrorist activity and in the process roll back as many of America’s hard-earned liberties as possible. Only 45 days after the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. Congress passed the infamous USA PATRIOT Act, typically known as simply the Patriot Act. The full Orwellian title is the “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001.”

The Patriot Act dramatically expanded the U.S. government’s abilities to monitor emails and landline phone calls, as well as also allowed access to voicemail through a search warrant rather than through a title III wiretap order. There is also section 215 of the Patriot Act, which has been used to justify mass surveillance programs by the National Security Agency.

The Patriot Act also vastly increased the use of National Security Letters, a tool used by the government to force telecommunications companies to give customer information without the use of a warrant from a judge. The NSLs are typically issued by the FBI to gather information from companies when related to national-security investigations. This information can include customer names, addresses, phone and Internet records, and banking and credit statements. The NSL also requires employees who have been questioned to be silenced via a gag order which prevents them from notifying anyone that the government is invading customers’ privacy.

Interestingly, many Americans are unaware that the Patriot Act was in fact written before the attacks of 9/11 (see this and this). Not only was the bill written and ready to be released at the right moment, at least one of the bills which spawned the Patriot Act was written by Vice President Joe Biden while he was still a senator in Delaware. In 2008 CNET reported:

The Center for National Security Studies said (Biden’s) bill would erode “constitutional and statutory due process protections” and would “authorize the Justice Department to pick and choose crimes to investigate and prosecute based on political beliefs and associations.”

Biden himself draws parallels between his 1995 bill and its 2001 cousin. “I drafted a terrorism bill after the Oklahoma City bombing. And the bill John Ashcroft sent up was my bill,” he said when the Patriot Act was being debated, according to the New Republic, which described him as “the Democratic Party’s de facto spokesman on the war against terrorism.”

Biden’s chronology is not accurate: the bombing took place in April 1995 and his bill had been introduced in February 1995. But it’s true that Biden’s proposal probably helped to lay the groundwork for the Bush administration’s Patriot Act.

The advancing tyranny that has resulted from the Patriot Act, and the bills which preceded it, has led to what we see in America in 2016. The bulk of American communications are now scanned, monitored, stored in a database, and analyzed for signs of terrorism. The NSA has even built a giant database in Utah to handle all of this data. Big Brother and Big sister are listening through an array of devices. Cell site simulators aka stingrays, Automatic License Plate Readers, Audio recording devices aka gunshot detectors, hidden cameras and microphones in public, thermal imaging planes and drones.

While most Americans are familiar with the dangers and civil liberties violations of the Patriot Act, many may be ignorant to the other steps taken by the U.S. government in their misguided War on Terror. In January 2002, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an agency responsible for all of the exciting and terrifying emerging military technologies, established the Information Awareness Office (IAO). The creation of the IAO was to bring together several DARPA projects that focused on using surveillance and data mining to track and monitor terrorists and other threats to U.S. National Security.

In November 2002, the New York Times reported that DARPA was developing a classified tracking program called “Total Information Awareness” (TIA), which was intended to detect terrorists by studying millions of pieces of data. The program was designed to create huge databases to gather and store personal data from emails, social media, credit card records, phone calls, medical history, and online history, without the need for a search warrant. The program also featured a biometric component that could be seen as a predecessor to the current FBI biometric database. The Electronic Privacy Information Center said the goal of TIA was “to track individuals through collecting as much information about them as possible and using computer algorithms and human analysis to detect potential activity.”

The man behind TIA was Vice Adm. John M. Poindexter, the former national security adviser in the Reagan administration, who was convicted in 1990 for his role in the Iran-contra affair. Poindexter’s conviction would later be overturned by a federal appeals court because he was granted immunity in exchange for testifying about his wrongdoing. Poindexter argued that the U.S. government must be granted even more powers than were given in the Patriot Act.

In 2002, The NY Times reported that Poindexter believes “the government needs to ‘break down the stovepipes’ that separate commercial and government databases, allowing teams of intelligence agency analysts to hunt for hidden patterns of activity with powerful computers.” Poindexter’s actions were criticized by many computer and security experts, including Barbara Simon, a computer scientist and past president of Association of Computing Machinery, who foreshadowed the coming Surveillance State with a warning that,”Once you’ve got it in place you can’t control it.”

“In some ways, Poindexter is the perfect Orwellian figure for the perfect Orwellian project,” Jonathan Turley, a professor of constitutional law at George Washington University wrote for the LA Times in November 2002. “As a man convicted of falsifying and destroying information, he will now be put in charge of gathering information on every citizen. To add insult to injury, the citizens will fund the very system that will reduce their lives to a transparent fishbowl.”
FILM: ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ (1984) starring John Hurt and Richard Burton. big-brother-orwell FILM -rally-privacy-loss free pic

FILM: ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ (1984) starring John Hurt and Richard Burton.

Public criticism of the TIA would grow so loud that Congress was forced to defund the entire IAO in 2003. However, many Americans correctly suspected that the programs were still being developed, only under different names, using different agencies. This fact would later be confirmed by Edward Snowden’s surveillance leaks of 2013; however, for those paying close attention, it was known for at least 7 years before the Snowden leaks.

In 2006, the National Journal obtained documents which they said proved that the TIA had been moved from DARPA to another group which focused on building spying technology for the National Security Agency. The Journal reported:

Two of the most important components of the TIA program were moved to the Advanced Research and Development Activity, housed at NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Md., documents and sources confirm. One piece was the Information Awareness Prototype System, the core architecture that tied together numerous information extraction, analysis, and dissemination tools developed under TIA. The prototype system included privacy-protection technologies that may have been discontinued or scaled back following the move to ARDA.

The Journal outlines how the system was moved and renamed. In 2002 the consulting firm Hicks & Associates, reportedly run by former Defense and military officials, was awarded a $19 million contract to build the prototype for TIA. Internal emails obtained by the Journal show Hicks executive, Brian Sharkey, informing his employees of the name change. “We will be describing this new effort as ‘Basketball,’ ” Sharkey wrote. Another e-mail reminded the company’s staff that “TIA has been terminated and should be referenced in that fashion.”

The Journal also pointed out that another TIA project known as Genoa II was renamed Topsail and moved to ARDA. Genoa was focused on pre-empting crime, an early predecessor for pre-crime technologies. “As recently as October 2005, SAIC was awarded a $3.7 million contract under Topsail,” the Journal wrote.

When attempting to question the Senate Intelligence Committee about whether or not the TIA’s programs were simply renamed and moved, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon told by Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte and FBI Director Robert Mueller that they didn’t know. However, Negroponte’s deputy, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, said, “I’d like to answer in closed session.” Hayden would go on to become the director of the Central Intelligence Agency and director of the NSA among other spy agencies.

Finally, in 2013, even the magazine Scientific American was forced to acknowledge that the Total Information Awareness never ended. Edward Snowden had made it perfectly clear by that point that Americans are living in a Surveillance State. In fact, in an interview with WIRED, intelligence analyst James Bamford said the NSA’s $2 billion facility in Utah “is, in some measure, the realization of the ‘total information awareness’ program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.”

Welcome to the Age of Total Information Awareness. A place where free people of the world voluntarily give up what little bit of privacy they maintain via social media tags, check ins, and constant self-surveillance. If you care about privacy (and you should if you care about freedom) then it’s time to start openly resisting the prying eyes and ears of the State and begin investing in new technologies that can disrupt the spying and protect our private lives.

About the Author

Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist and liberty activist. He is the Lead Investigative Reporter for ActivistPost.com and the founder of the TheConsciousResistance.com. Follow him on Twitter. Derrick is available for interviews.

This article (The Roots Of Today’s Tyranny: Total Information Awareness) was originally created and published by Activist Post and is re-posted here with permission.

__________________________________________________________________________

Total Information Awareness

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Diagram of the Total Information Awareness system from the official (decommissioned) Information Awareness Office website
Presentation slide produced by DARPA describing TIA
Seal of the U.S. National Security Agency.svg
National Security Agency surveillance
Boundless Informant data collection.svg
Map of global NSA data collection

Programs

Pre-1978

ECHELON MINARET SHAMROCK PROMIS

Since 1978

Upstream collection BLARNEY FAIRVIEW Main Core ThinThread Genoa

Since 1990

RAMPART-A

Since 2001

OAKSTAR STORMBREW Trailblazer Turbulence Genoa II Total Information Awareness President’s Surveillance Program
Terrorist Surveillance Program

Since 2007

PRISM Dropmire Stateroom Bullrun MYSTIC MonsterMind (alleged)

Databases, tools etc.

PINWALE MARINA Main Core MAINWAY TRAFFICTHIEF DISHFIRE XKeyscore ICREACH BOUNDLESSINFORMANT

GCHQ collaboration

Total Information Awareness (TIA) was a mass detection program by the United States Information Awareness Office. It operated under this title from February to May 2003 before being renamed Terrorism Information Awareness.[1][2]

Based on the concept of predictive policing, TIA was meant to correlate detailed information about people in order to anticipate and prevent terrorist incidents before execution.[3] The program modeled specific information sets in the hunt for terrorists around the globe.[4] Admiral John Poindexter called it a “Manhattan Project for counter-terrorism”.[5] According to Senator Ron Wyden, TIA was the “biggest surveillance program in the history of the United States”.[6]

Congress defunded the Information Awareness Office in late 2003 after media reports criticized the government for attempting to establish “Total Information Awareness” over all citizens.[7][8][9]

Although the program was formally suspended, other government agencies later adopted some of its software with only superficial changes. TIA’s core architecture continued development under the code name “Basketball.” According to a 2012 New York Times article, TIA’s legacy was “quietly thriving” at the National Security Agency (NSA).[10]
Contents

1 Program synopsis
1.1 Mission
1.2 Components
1.2.1 Genoa
1.2.2 Genoa II
1.2.3 Genisys
1.2.4 Scalable Social Network Analysis
1.2.5 Evidence Extraction and Link Discovery
1.2.6 Wargaming the Asymmetric Environment
1.2.7 Translingual Information Detection, Extraction and Summarization
1.2.8 Communicator
1.2.9 Human Identification at a Distance
1.2.10 Bio-Surveillance
1.3 Scope of surveillance
1.4 Privacy
2 History
2.1 Early developments
2.2 Congressional restrictions and termination
2.3 After 2003
2.3.1 Topsail
2.3.2 Basketball
3 Criticism
4 In popular culture
5 See also
6 References
7 External links

Program synopsis

TIA was intended to be a five-year research project by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The goal was to integrate components from previous and new government intelligence and surveillance programs, including Genoa, Genoa II, Genisys, SSNA, EELD, WAE, TIDES, Communicator, HumanID and Bio-Surveillance, with data mining knowledge gleaned from the private sector to create a resource for the intelligence, counterintelligence, and law enforcement communities.[11][12] These components consisted of information analysis, collaboration, decision-support tools, language translation, data-searching, pattern recognition, and privacy-protection technologies.[13]

TIA research included or planned to include the participation of nine government entities: INSCOM, NSA, DIA, CIA, CIFA, STRATCOM, SOCOM, JFCOM, and JWAC.[13] They were to be able to access TIA’s programs through a series of dedicated nodes.[14] INSCOM was to house TIA’s hardware in Fort Belvoir, Virginia.[15]

Companies contracted to work on TIA included the Science Applications International Corporation,[16] Booz Allen Hamilton, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Schafer Corporation, SRS Technologies, Adroit Systems, CACI Dynamic Systems, ASI Systems International, and Syntek Technologies.[17]

Universities enlisted to assist with research and development included Berkeley, Colorado State, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Cornell, Dallas, GeorgiaTech, Maryland, MIT, and Southampton.[17][18]
Mission

TIA’s goal was to revolutionize the United States’ ability to detect, classify and identify foreign terrorists and decipher their plans, thereby enabling the U.S. to take timely action to preempt and disrupt terrorist activity.

To that end, TIA was to create a counter-terrorism information system that:[19]

Increases information coverage by an order of magnitude and affords easy scaling
Provides focused warnings within an hour after a triggering event occurs or an evidence threshold is passed
Automatically queues analysts based on partial pattern matches and has patterns that cover 90% of all previously known foreign terrorist attacks
Supports collaboration, analytical reasoning and information sharing so that analysts can hypothesize, test and propose theories and mitigating strategies, so decision-makers can effectively evaluate the impact of policies and courses of action.

Components
Genoa
Main article: Project Genoa

Unlike the other program components, Genoa predated TIA and provided a basis for it.[20] Genoa’s primary function was intelligence analysis to assist human analysts.[21] It was designed to support both top-down and bottom-up approaches; a policymaker could hypothesize an attack and use Genoa to look for supporting evidence of it or compile pieces of intelligence into a diagram and suggest possible outcomes. Human analysts could then modify the diagram to test various cases.[22]

Genoa was independently commissioned in 1996 and completed in 2002 as scheduled.
Genoa II
Main article: Project Genoa II

While Genoa primarily focused on intelligence analysis, Genoa II aimed to provide means by which computers, software agents, policymakers, and field operatives could collaborate.[21]
Genisys
Graphic describing the goals of the Genysis project

Genisys aimed to develop technologies that would enable “ultra-large, all-source information repositories”.[23] Vast amounts of information were to be collected and analyzed, and the available database technology at the time was insufficient for storing and organizing such enormous quantities of data. So they developed techniques for virtual data aggregation to support effective analysis across heterogeneous databases, as well as unstructured public data sources, such as the World Wide Web. “Effective analysis across heterogenous databases” means the ability to take things from databases which are designed to store different types of data—such as a database containing criminal records, a phone call database and a foreign intelligence database. The Web is considered an “unstructured public data source” because it is publicly accessible and contains many different types of data—blogs, emails, records of visits to websites, etc.—all of which need to be analyzed and stored efficiently.[23]

Another goal was to develop “a large, distributed system architecture for managing the huge volume of raw data input, analysis results, and feedback, that will result in a simpler, more flexible data store that performs well and allows us to retain important data indefinitely.”[23]
Scalable Social Network Analysis

Scalable Social Network Analysis (SSNA) aimed to develop techniques based on social network analysis to model the key characteristics of terrorist groups and discriminate them from other societal groups.[24]
Evidence Extraction and Link Discovery
Graphic displaying a simulated application of the Evidence Extraction and Link Discovery (EELD) project

Evidence Extraction and Link Discovery (EELD) developed technologies and tools for automated discovery, extraction and linking of sparse evidence contained in large amounts of classified and unclassified data sources (such as phone call records from the NSA call database, internet histories, or bank records).[25]

EELD was designed to design systems with the ability to extract data from multiple sources (e.g., text messages, social networking sites, financial records, and web pages). It was to develop the ability to detect patterns comprising multiple types of links between data items or communications (e.g., financial transactions, communications, travel, etc.).[25] It is designed to link items relating potential “terrorist” groups and scenarios, and to learn patterns of different groups or scenarios to identify new organizations and emerging threats.[25]
Wargaming the Asymmetric Environment

Wargaming the Asymmetric Environment (WAE) focused on developing automated technology that could identify predictive indicators of terrorist activity or impending attacks by examining individual and group behavior in broad environmental context and the motivation of specific terrorists.[26]
Translingual Information Detection, Extraction and Summarization

Translingual Information Detection, Extraction and Summarization (TIDES) develops advanced language processing technology to enable English speakers to find and interpret critical information in multiple languages without requiring knowledge of those languages.[27]

Outside groups (such as universities, corporations, etc.) were invited to participate in the annual information retrieval, topic detection and tracking, automatic content extraction, and machine translation evaluations run by NIST.[27] Cornell University, Columbia University, and the University of California, Berkeley were given grants to work on TIDES.[17]

Communicator

Diagram describing capabilities of the “Communicator” project

Communicator was to develop “dialogue interaction” technology to enable warfighters to talk to computers, such that information would be accessible on the battlefield or in command centers without a keyboard-based interface. Communicator was to be wireless, mobile, and to function in a networked environment.[28]

The dialogue interaction software was to interpret dialogue’s context to improve performance, and to automatically adapt to new topics so conversation could be natural and efficient. Communicator emphasized task knowledge to compensate for natural language effects and noisy environments. Unlike automated translation of natural language speech, which is much more complex due to an essentially unlimited vocabulary and grammar, Communicator takes on task-specific issues so that there are constrained vocabularies (the system only needs to be able to understand language related to war). Research was also started on foreign-language computer interaction for use in coalition operations.[28]

Live exercises were conducted involving small unit logistics operations with the United States Marines to test the technology in extreme environments.[28]
Human Identification at a Distance
Diagram describing capabilities of the “Human Identification at a Distance” project[29]

The Human Identification at a Distance (HumanID) project developed automated biometric identification technologies to detect, recognize and identify humans at great distances for “force protection”, crime prevention, and “homeland security/defense” purposes.[29]

The goals of HumanID were to:[29]

Develop algorithms to find and acquire subjects out to 150 meters (500 ft) in range.
Fuse face and gait recognition into a 24/7 human identification system.
Develop and demonstrate a human identification system that operates out to 150 meters (500 ft) using visible imagery.
Develop a low-power millimeter wave radar system for wide field of view detection and narrow field of view gait classification.
Characterize gait performance from video for human identification at a distance.
Develop a multi-spectral infrared and visible face recognition system.

A number of universities assisted in designing HumanID. The Georgia Institute of Technology’s College of Computing focused on gait recognition. Gait recognition was a key component of HumanID, because it could be employed on low-resolution video feeds and therefore help identify subjects at a distance.[30] They planned to develop a system that recovered static body and stride parameters of subjects as they walked, while also looking into the ability of time-normalized joint angle trajectories in the walking plane as a way of recognizing gait. The university also worked on finding and tracking faces by expressions and speech.[18]

Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute (part of the School of Computer Science) worked on dynamic face recognition. The research focused primarily on the extraction of body biometric features from video and identifying subjects from those features. To conduct its studies, the university created databases of synchronized multi-camera video sequences of body motion, human faces under a wide range of imaging conditions, AU coded expression videos, and hyperspectal and polarimetric images of faces.[31] The video sequences of body motion data consisted of six separate viewpoints of 25 subjects walking on a treadmill. Four separate 11-second gaits were tested for each: slow walk, fast walk, inclined, and carrying a ball.[30]

The University of Maryland’s Institute for Advanced Computer Studies’ research focused on recognizing people at a distance by gait and face. Also to be used were infrared and 5-degree-of-freedom cameras.[32] Tests included filming 38 male and 6 female subjects of different ethnicity and physical features walking along a T-shaped path from various angles.[33]

The University of Southampton’s Department of Electronics and Computer Science was developing an “Automatic Gait Recognition” system and was in charge of compiling a database to test it.[34] The University of Texas at Dallas was compiling a database to test facial systems. The data included a set of nine static pictures taken from different viewpoints, a video of each subject looking around a room, a video of the subject speaking, and one or more videos of the subject showing facial expressions.[35] Colorado State University developed multiple systems for identification via facial recognition.[36] Columbia University participated in implementing HumanID in poor weather.[31]
Bio-Surveillance
Graphic describing the goals of the Bio-Surveillance project

The Bio-Surveillance project was designed to predict and respond to bioterrorism by monitoring non-traditional data sources such as animal sentinels, behavioral indicators, and pre-diagnostic medical data. It would leverage existing disease models, identify abnormal health early indicators, and mine existing databases to determine the most valuable early indicators for abnormal health conditions.[37]
Scope of surveillance

As a “virtual, centralized, grand database”,[38] the scope of surveillance includes credit card purchases, magazine subscriptions, web browsing histories, phone records, academic grades, bank deposits, gambling histories, passport applications, airline and railway tickets, driver’s licenses, gun licenses, toll records, judicial records, and divorce records.[8][12]

Health and biological information TIA collected included drug prescriptions,[8] medical records,[39] fingerprints, gait, face and iris data,[12] and DNA.[40]
Privacy

TIA’s Genisys component, in addition to integrating and organizing separate databases, was to run an internal “Privacy Protection Program.” This was intended to restrict analysts’ access to irrelevant information on private U.S. citizens, enforce privacy laws and policies, and report misuse of data.[41] There were also plans for TIA to have an application that could “anonymize” data, so that information could be linked to an individual only by court order (especially for medical records gathered by the Bio-Surveillance project).[37] A set of audit logs were to be kept, which would track whether innocent Americans’ communications were getting caught up in relevant data.[10]
History
Adm. John Poindexter, the Director of the Information Awareness Office and chief supporter of TIA

The term “total information awareness” was first coined at the 1999 annual DARPAtech conference in a presentation by the deputy director of the Office of Information Systems Management, Brian Sharkey. Sharkey applied the phrase to a conceptual method by which the government could sift through massive amounts of data becoming available via digitization and draw important conclusions.[22]
Early developments

TIA was proposed as a program shortly after the September 11 attacks in 2001 by Rear Admiral John Poindexter. A former national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan and a key player in the Iran–Contra affair, he was working with Syntek Technologies, a company often contracted out by the government for work on defense projects. TIA was officially commissioned during the 2002 fiscal year.[17] In January 2002 Poindexter was appointed Director of the newly created Information Awareness Office division of DARPA, which managed TIA’s development.[42] The office temporarily operated out of the fourth floor of DARPA’s headquarters, while Poindexter looked for a place to permanently house TIA’s researchers.[15] Soon Project Genoa was completed and its research moved on to Genoa II.[43][44]

Late that year, the Information Awareness Office awarded the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) a $19 million contract to develop the “Information Awareness Prototype System”, the core architecture to integrate all of TIA’s information extraction, analysis, and dissemination tools. This was done through its consulting arm, Hicks & Associates, which employed many former Defense Department and military officials.[16]

TIA’s earliest version employed software called Groove, which had been developed in 2000 by Ray Ozzie. Groove made it possible for analysts from many different agencies to share intelligence data instantly, and linked specialized programs that were designed to look for patterns of suspicious behavior.[45]
Congressional restrictions and termination

On 24 January 2003, the United States Senate voted to limit TIA by restricting its ability to gather information from emails and the commercial databases of health, financial and travel companies.[46] According to the Consolidated Appropriations Resolution, 2003, Pub. L. No. 108-7, Division M, § 111(b) passed in February, the Defense Department was given 90 days to compile a report laying out a schedule of TIA’s development and the intended use of allotted funds or face a cutoff of support.[47]

The report arrived on May 20. It disclosed that the program’s computer tools were still in their preliminary testing phase. Concerning the pattern recognition of transaction information, only synthetic data created by researchers was being processed. The report also conceded that a full prototype of TIA would not be ready until the 2007 fiscal year.[13] Also in May, Total Information Awareness was renamed Terrorism Information Awareness in an attempt to stem the flow of criticism on its information-gathering practices on average citizens.[48]

At some point in early 2003, the National Security Agency began installing access nodes on TIA’s classified network.[5] The NSA then started running stacks of emails and intercepted communications through TIA’s various programs.[14]

Following a scandal in the Department of Defense involving a proposal to reward investors who predicted terrorist attacks, Poindexter resigned from office on 29 August.[14]

On September 30, 2003, Congress officially cut off TIA’s funding and the Information Awareness Office (with the Senate voting unanimously against it)[49] because of its unpopular perception by the general public and the media.[9][50] The effort was led by Senators Ron Wyden and Byron L. Dorgan.[51]
After 2003

Reports began to emerge in February 2006 that TIA’s components had been transferred to the authority of the National Security Agency. In the Department of Defense appropriations bill for the 2004 fiscal year, a classified annex provided the funding. It was stipulated that the technologies were limited for military or foreign intelligence purposes against non-U.S. citizens.[52] Most of the original project goals and research findings were preserved, but the privacy protection mechanics were abandoned.[5][10]
Topsail

Genoa II, which focused on collaboration between machines and humans, was renamed “Topsail” and handed over to the NSA’s Advanced Research and Development Activity, or ARDA (ARDA was later moved to the Director of National Intelligence’s control as the Disruptive Technologies Office). Tools from the program were used in the war in Afghanistan and other parts of the War on Terror.[16] In October 2005, the SAIC signed a $3.7 million contract for work on Topsail.[22] In early 2006 a spokesman for the Air Force Research Laboratory said that Topsail was “in the process of being canceled due to lack of funds.” When asked about Topsail in a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing that February, both National Intelligence Director John Negroponte and FBI Director Robert Mueller said they didn’t know the program’s status. Negroponte’s deputy, former NSA Director Michael V. Hayden said, “I’d like to answer in closed session.”[16]
Basketball

The Information Awareness Prototype System was reclassified as “Basketball” and work on it continued by SAIC, supervised by ARDA. As late as September 2004, Basketball was fully funded by the government and being tested in a research center jointly run by ARDA and SAIC. As of 2006, it was unknown whether this research persisted.[16]
Criticism

Critics allege that the program could be abused by government authorities as part of their practice of mass surveillance in the United States. In an op-ed for The New York Times, William Safire called it “the supersnoop’s dream: a Total Information Awareness about every U.S. citizen.”[8]

Hans Mark, a former director of defense research and engineering at the University of Texas, called it a “dishonest misuse of DARPA”.[1]

The American Civil Liberties Union launched a campaign to terminate TIA’s implementation, claiming that it would “kill privacy in America” because “every aspect of our lives would be catalogued”.[53] The San Francisco Chronicle criticized the program for “Fighting terror by terrifying U.S. citizens”.[54]

Still, in 2013 former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied about a massive data collection on US citizens and others.[55] Edward Snowden said that because of Clapper’s lie he lost hope to change things formally.[56]
In popular culture

In the 2008 British television series The Last Enemy, TIA is portrayed as a UK-based surveillance database that can be used to track and monitor anybody by putting all available government information in one place.
See also

LifeLog
Mass surveillance in the United States
Pre-crime
Privacy laws of the United States
Situation awareness

References

Weinberger, Sharon (24 January 2008). “Defence research: Still in the lead?”. Nature. Nature Publishing Group. 451 (7177): 390–393. Bibcode:2008Natur.451..390W. doi:10.1038/451390a. PMID 18216826. “Poindexter and his office proved to be more polarizing than expected; its Total Information Awareness programme (later changed to Terrorism Information Awareness), which aimed to sift through huge amounts of data to track terrorists, was attacked on privacy grounds, and Congress eventually cancelled it. “That was a dishonest misuse of DARPA,” says Hans Mark, a former director of defense research and engineering now at the University of Texas at Austin.”
Ryan Singel (07.14.03). “Funding for TIA All But Dead”. Wired. Retrieved 7 December 2013. Check date values in: |date= (help)
Murray, N. (4 October 2010). “Profiling in the age of total information awareness”. Race & Class. 52 (2): 3–24. doi:10.1177/0306396810377002.
JOHN MARKOFF (November 9, 2002). “Pentagon Plans a Computer System That Would Peek at Personal Data of Americans”. The New York Times. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
Shorrock, Tim (2008). Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing. Simon and Schuster. pp. 221. ISBN 9780743282246.
“Pentagon’s ‘Terror Information Awareness’ program will end”. USA Today. AP. 2003-09-25. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
Jonathan Turley (November 17, 2002). “George Bush’s Big Brother”. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
WILLIAM SAFIRE (November 14, 2002). “You Are a Suspect”. The New York Times. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
“U.S. agencies collect, examine personal data on Americans”. The Washington Times. May 28, 2004. Retrieved 19 December 2013. “The most widely reported data-mining project—the Pentagon’s Total Information Awareness (TIA) program—was shut down by Congress because of widespread privacy fears. The project sought to use credit-card, medical and travel records to search for terrorists and was dubbed by privacy advocates as a “supersnoop” system to spy on Americans.”
SHANE HARRIS (August 22, 2012). “Giving In to the Surveillance State”. The New York Times. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
Poindexter, John (2 August 2002). “OVERVIEW OF THE INFORMATION AWARENESS OFFICE”. fas.org. Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
Stevens, Gina Marie (2003). Privacy: Total Information Awareness Programs and Latest Developments (illustrated ed.). Nova Publishers. ISBN 9781590338698.
“Report to Congress Regarding the Terrorism Information Awareness Program: In response to Consolidated Appropriations Resolution, 2003, Pub. L. No. 108-7, Division M, § 111(b)” (PDF). www.epic.org. DARPA. 20 May 2003. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
Bamford, James (14 October 2008). The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 9780385528399.
Jacobsen, Annie (2015). The Pentagon’s Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America’s Top-Secret Military Research Agency (illustrated ed.). Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316371650.
TIA Lives On, National Journal, 23 February 2006, retrieved 14 June 2016
Mayle, Adam; Knott, Alex (17 December 2002). “Outsourcing Big Brother: Office of Total Information Awareness relies on private sector to track Americans”. www.publicintegrity.org. Center for Public Integrity. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
“Human Identification at a Distance”. www.cc.gatech.edu. Georgia Institute of Technology College of Computing. 2003. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
“Total Information Awareness (TIA) System”. DARPA. October 3, 2002. Archived from the original on October 3, 2002.
Balancing Privacy & Security: The Privacy Implications of Government Data Mining Programs: Congressional Hearing. DIANE Publishing. p. 126. ISBN 9781422320259.
Dan Verton (1 September 2003). “Genoa II: Man and Machine Thinking as One”. Computerworld. IDG Enterprise. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
Harris, Shane (18 February 2010). The Watchers: The Rise of America’s Surveillance State (reprint ed.). Penguin. ISBN 9781101195741.
“Genisys”. Information Awareness Office (official website). Archived from the original on 2009-02-16. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
Ethier, Jason. “Current Research in Social Network Theory”. Northeastern University College of Computer and Information Science. Archived from the original on February 26, 2015. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
“Evidence Extraction and Link Discovery”. Information Awareness Office (official website — mirror). Archived from the original on 2009-02-15. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
“Wargaming the Asymmetric Environment (WAE)”. www.darpa.mil/iao. Information Awareness Office. Archived from the original on 28 May 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
“TIDES”. Information Awareness Office (official website — mirror). Archived from the original on 2009-02-15. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
“Communicator”. Information Awareness Office (official website). Archived from the original on 2009-02-15. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
“Human Identification at a distance”. Information Awareness Office (official website — mirror). Archived from the original on February 15, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
Bolle, Ruud M.; Connell, Jonathan; Pankanti, Sharath; Ratha, Nalini K.; Senior, Andrew W. (29 June 2013). Guide to Biometrics (illustrated ed.). Springer Science & Business Media. p. 239. ISBN 9781475740363.
“Human Identification at a Distance (HumanID)”. Carnegie Mellon University: The Robotics Institute. Carnegie Mellon University. Archived from the original on 9 August 2016. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
“Human Identification at a Distance: Overview”. University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies. University of Maryland. 17 April 2001. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
Bahram Javidi, ed. (28 June 2005). Optical and Digital Techniques for Information Security. Advanced Sciences and Technologies for Security Applications. 1 (illustrated ed.). Springer Science & Business Media. p. 283. ISBN 9780387206165.
Nixon, M.S. (7 August 2003). “Automatic Gait Recognition for Human ID at a Distance”. www.ecs.soton.ac.uk. University of Southampton. Archived from the original on 2016-08-05. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
O’Toole, Alice. “Human Identification Project”. www.utdallas.edu. University of Texas at Dallas. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
“Evaluation of Face Recognition Algorithms”. www.cs.colostate.edu. Colorado State University. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
“Bio- Surveillance”. www.darpa.mil/iao. Information Awareness Office. Archived from the original on 2006-09-19.
Anthony M. Townsend. “Your city is spying on you: From iPhones to cameras, you are being watched right now”. Salon (website). Retrieved 19 December 2013.
Ron Wyden (January 15, 2003). “Wyden Calls For Congressional Oversight, Accountability of Total Information Awareness Office”. United States Senate. Retrieved 19 December 2013. “On the Web site of this particular program, the Total Information Awareness Program, they cite a Latin slogan—”Knowledge is power”—something we would all agree with, and state: The total information awareness of transnational threats requires keeping track of individuals and understanding how they fit into models. To this end, this office would seek to develop a way to integrate databases into a “virtual centralized grand database.” They would be in a position to look at education, travel, and medical records, and develop risk profiles for millions of Americans”
Pat M. Holt (October 2, 2003). “Driving dangerously with the Patriot Act”. Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 19 December 2013. “The Defense Department is leading the charge for what it calls Total Information Awareness, a massive database including DNA.”
Lee, Newton (7 April 2015). Counterterrorism and Cybersecurity: Total Information Awareness (2, illustrated, revised ed.). Springer. p. 141. ISBN 9783319172446.
Belasco, Amy (21 March 2003). “Total Information Awareness Programs: Funding, Composition, and Oversight Issues” (PDF). www.au.af.mil/au. Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
Armour, Tom (2002). “Genoa II DARPAtech 2002 Presentation Script” (PDF). w2.eff.org. Electronic Frontier Foundation. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-10-08. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
“Genoa”. www.darpa.mil/iao. Information Awareness Office. Archived from the original on 2009-02-16.
“TECHNOLOGY; Many Tools Of Big Brother Are Now Up And Running”. The New York Times. December 23, 2002. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
ADAM CLYMER (January 24, 2003). “Senate Rejects Privacy Project”. The New York Times. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
“Joint Resolution”. www.gpo.gov. United States Government Publishing Office. February 2003. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
Richelson, Jeffrey T. (4 September 2013). “The Snowden Affair”. nsarchive.gwu.edu. National Security Archive. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
Solove, Daniel J. (2011). Nothing to Hide: The False Tradeoff Between Privacy and Security. Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300177251.
Donohue, Laura K. (14 April 2008). The Cost of Counterterrorism: Power, Politics, and Liberty. Cambridge University Press. p. 258. ISBN 9781139469579.
Eric, Schmitt (1 August 2003). “Poindexter Will Be Quitting Over Terrorism Betting Plan”. New York Times. Washington D.C. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
Mark Williams Pontin. The Total Information Awareness Project Lives On, MIT Technology Review, 26 April 2006, retrieved 16 June 2016
“Q&A on the Pentagon’s “Total Information Awareness” Program”. American Civil Liberties Union. April 20, 2003. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
ROB MORSE (November 20, 2002). “Fighting terror by terrifying U.S. citizens”. San Francisco Chronicle . Retrieved 21 December 2013.
Clapper, James R,. (2018). Facts and Fears: Hard Truths From A Life In Intelligence (ebook ed.). New York: Viking. p. 226. ISBN 9780525558651.

Clapper, James R,. (2018). Facts and Fears: Hard Truths From A Life In Intelligence (ebook ed.). New York: Viking. p. 226. ISBN 9780525558651.

External links

Consolidated Appropriations Resolution, 2003, Pub. L. No. 108-7, Division M, § 111(b)[permanent dead link]
Report to Congress Regarding the Terrorism Information Awareness Program

Categories:

Counter-terrorism in the United StatesDARPAGeorge W. Bush administration controversiesMass surveillancePrivacy in the United StatesPrivacy of telecommunicationsSurveillance scandalsSurveillance

This page was last edited on 8 September 2020, at 04:13 (UTC).

Information Awareness Office
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Information Awareness Office seal[1][2]
(motto: lat. scientia est potentia – knowledge is power[3])
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The Information Awareness Office (IAO) was established by the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in January 2002 to bring together several DARPA projects focused on applying surveillance and information technology to track and monitor terrorists and other asymmetric threats to U.S. national security by achieving “Total Information Awareness” (TIA).[4][5][6]

This was achieved by creating enormous computer databases to gather and store the personal information of everyone in the United States, including personal e-mails, social networks, credit card records, phone calls, medical records, and numerous other sources, without any requirement for a search warrant.[7] This information was then analyzed to look for suspicious activities, connections between individuals, and “threats”.[8] Additionally, the program included funding for biometric surveillance technologies that could identify and track individuals using surveillance cameras, and other methods.[8]

Following public criticism that the development and deployment of this technology could potentially lead to a mass surveillance system, the IAO was defunded by Congress in 2003. However, several IAO projects continued to be funded and merely run under different names, as revealed by Edward Snowden during the course of the 2013 mass surveillance disclosures.[5][6][9][10][11][12]
Contents

1 History
2 Research
2.1 Human Identification at a Distance (HumanID)
2.2 Evidence Extraction and Link Discovery
2.3 Genisys
2.4 Scalable Social Network Analysis
2.5 Futures Markets Applied to Prediction (FutureMAP)
2.6 TIDES
2.7 Genoa / Genoa II
2.8 Wargaming the Asymmetric Environment (WAE)
2.9 Effective Affordable Reusable Speech-to-text (EARS)
2.10 Babylon
2.11 Bio-Surveillance
2.12 Communicator
3 Components of TIA projects that continue to be developed
4 Media coverage and criticism
5 See also
6 References
7 Further reading
8 External links
8.1 Media coverage
8.2 Academic articles
8.3 Critical views
8.4 Proponent views

History
Diagram of Total Information Awareness system, taken from official (decommissioned) Information Awareness Office website (click to enlarge)

The IAO was established after Admiral John Poindexter, former United States National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan, and SAIC executive Brian Hicks approached the US Department of Defense with the idea for an information awareness program after the attacks of September 11, 2001.[11]

Poindexter and Hicks had previously worked together on intelligence-technology programs for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. DARPA agreed to host the program and appointed Poindexter to run it in 2002.

The IAO began funding research and development of the Total Information Awareness (TIA) Program in February 2003 but renamed the program the Terrorism Information Awareness Program in May that year after an adverse media reaction to the program’s implications for public surveillance. Although TIA was only one of several IAO projects, many critics and news reports conflated TIA with other related research projects of the IAO, with the result that TIA came in popular usage to stand for an entire subset of IAO programs.

The TIA program itself was the “systems-level” program of the IAO that intended to integrate information technologies into a prototype system to provide tools to better detect, classify, and identify potential terrorists with the goal to increase the probability that authorized agencies of the United States could preempt adverse actions.[13]

As a systems-level program of programs, TIA’s goal was the creation of a “counter-terrorism information architecture” that integrated technologies from other IAO programs (and elsewhere, as appropriate). The TIA program was researching, developing, and integrating technologies to virtually aggregate data, to follow subject-oriented link analysis, to develop descriptive and predictive models through data mining or human hypothesis, and to apply such models to additional datasets to identify terrorists and terrorist groups.[13]

Among the other IAO programs that were intended to provide TIA with component data aggregation and automated analysis technologies were the Genisys, Genisys Privacy Protection, Evidence Extraction and Link Discovery, and Scalable Social Network Analysis programs.

On August 2, 2002, Dr. Poindexter gave a speech at DARPAtech 2002 entitled “Overview of the Information Awareness Office”[14] in which he described the TIA program.

In addition to the program itself, the involvement of Poindexter as director of the IAO also raised concerns among some, since he had been earlier convicted of lying to Congress and altering and destroying documents pertaining to the Iran-Contra Affair, although those convictions were later overturned on the grounds that the testimony used against him was protected.

On January 16, 2003, Senator Russ Feingold introduced legislation to suspend the activity of the IAO and the Total Information Awareness program pending a Congressional review of privacy issues involved.[15] A similar measure introduced by Senator Ron Wyden would have prohibited the IAO from operating within the United States unless specifically authorized to do so by Congress, and would have shut the IAO down entirely 60 days after passage unless either the Pentagon prepared a report to Congress assessing the impact of IAO activities on individual privacy and civil liberties or the President certified the program’s research as vital to national security interests. In February 2003, Congress passed legislation suspending activities of the IAO pending a Congressional report of the office’s activities (Consolidated Appropriations Resolution, 2003, No.108–7, Division M, §111(b) [signed Feb. 20, 2003]).

In response to this legislation, DARPA provided Congress on May 20, 2003 with a report on its activities.[16] In this report, IAO changed the name of the program to the Terrorism Information Awareness Program and emphasized that the program was not designed to compile dossiers on US citizens, but rather to research and develop the tools that would allow authorized agencies to gather information on terrorist networks. Despite the name change and these assurances, the critics continued to see the system as prone to potential misuse or abuse.[13]

As a result, House and Senate negotiators moved to prohibit further funding for the TIA program by adding provisions to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2004[17] (signed into law by President Bush on October 1, 2003). Further, the Joint Explanatory Statement included in the conference committee report specifically directed that the IAO as program manager for TIA be terminated immediately.[18]
Research

IAO research was conducted along five major investigative paths: secure collaboration problem solving; structured discovery; link and group understanding; context aware visualization; and decision making with corporate memory.

Among the IAO projects were:
Human Identification at a Distance (HumanID)
Diagram (from official IAO site) describing capabilities of the “Human Identification at a Distance (HumanID)” project[19]

The Human Identification at a Distance (HumanID) project developed automated biometric identification technologies to detect, recognize and identify humans at great distances for “force protection”, crime prevention, and “homeland security/defense” purposes.[19]

Its goals included programs to:[19]

Develop algorithms for locating and acquiring subjects out to 150 meters (500 ft) in range.
Fuse face and gait recognition into a 24/7 human identification system.
Develop and demonstrate a human identification system that operates out to 150 meters (500 ft) using visible imagery.
Develop a low power millimeter wave radar system for wide field of view detection and narrow field of view gait classification.
Characterize gait performance from video for human identification at a distance.
Develop a multi-spectral infrared and visible face recognition system.

Evidence Extraction and Link Discovery

Evidence Extraction and Link Discovery (EELD) development of technologies and tools for automated discovery, extraction and linking of sparse evidence contained in large amounts of classified and unclassified data sources (such as phone call records from the NSA call database, internet histories, or bank records).[20]

EELD was designed to design systems with the ability to extract data from multiple sources (e.g., text messages, social networking sites, financial records, and web pages). It was to develop the ability to detect patterns comprising multiple types of links between data items or people communicating (e.g., financial transactions, communications, travel, etc.).[20]

It is designed to link items relating potential “terrorist” groups and scenarios, and to learn patterns of different groups or scenarios to identify new organizations and emerging threats.[20]
Genisys

Goals of the Genysis project

Genisys aimed at developing technologies which would enable “ultra-large, all-source information repositories”.[21]

Vast amounts of information were going to be collected and analyzed, and the available database technology at the time was insufficient for storing and organizing such enormous quantities of data. So they developed techniques for virtual data aggregation in order to support effective analysis across heterogeneous databases, as well as unstructured public data sources, such as the World Wide Web. “Effective analysis across heterogenous databases” means the ability to take things from databases which are designed to store different types of data—such as a database containing criminal records, a phone call database and a foreign intelligence database. The World Wide Web is considered an “unstructured public data source” because it is publicly accessible and contains many different types of data—such as blogs, emails, records of visits to web sites, etc.—all of which need to be analyzed and stored efficiently.[21]

Another goal was to develop “a large, distributed system architecture for managing the huge volume of raw data input, analysis results, and feedback, that will result in a simpler, more flexible data store that performs well and allows us to retain important data indefinitely.”[21]

Genisys had an internal “Privacy Protection Program.” It was intended to restrict analysts’ access to irrelevant information on private U.S. citizens, enforce privacy laws and policies via software mechanisms, and report misuse of data.[22]
Scalable Social Network Analysis

Scalable Social Network Analysis (SSNA) aimed at developing techniques based on social network analysis for modeling the key characteristics of terrorist groups and discriminating these groups from other types of societal groups.[23]

Sean McGahan, of Northeastern University said the following in his study of SSNA:

The purpose of the SSNA algorithms program is to extend techniques of social network analysis to assist with distinguishing potential terrorist cells from legitimate groups of people … In order to be successful SSNA will require information on the social interactions of the majority of people around the globe. Since the Defense Department cannot easily distinguish between peaceful citizens and terrorists, it will be necessary for them to gather data on innocent civilians as well as on potential terrorists.
— Sean McGahan[23]

Futures Markets Applied to Prediction (FutureMAP)
Main article: Future Map
Further information: Policy Analysis Market

Futures Markets Applied to Prediction (FutureMAP) was intended to harness collective intelligence by researching prediction market techniques for avoiding surprise and predicting future events. The intent was to explore the feasibility of market-based trading mechanisms to predict political instability, threats to national security, and other major events in the near future.[24] In laymans terms, FutureMap would be a website that allowed people to bet on when a terrorist attack would occur.[25] The bookie would have been the federal government.[25] Several Senators were outraged at the very notion of such a program.[25] Then Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle said on the floor of the Senate “I couldn’t believe that we would actually commit $8 million to create a Web site that would encourage investors to bet on futures involving terrorist attacks and public assassinations. … I can’t believe that anybody would seriously propose that we trade in death. … How long would it be before you saw traders investing in a way that would bring about the desired result?”[25] Democratic Senator from Oregon, Ron Wyden said, “The idea of a federal betting parlor on atrocities and terrorism is ridiculous and it’s grotesque.”[25] The ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, thought the program was so ridiculous that he thought initial reports of it were the result of a hoax.[25] The program was then dropped.
TIDES
Goals of the Translingual Information Detection, Extraction and Summarization (TIDES) project

Translingual Information Detection, Extraction and Summarization (TIDES) developing advanced language processing technology to enable English speakers to find and interpret critical information in multiple languages without requiring knowledge of those languages.[26]

Outside groups (such as universities, corporations, etc.) were invited to participate in the annual information retrieval, topic detection and tracking, automatic content extraction, and machine translation evaluations run by NIST.[26]
Genoa / Genoa II

Genoa and Genoa II focused on providing advanced decision-support and collaboration tools to rapidly deal with and adjust to dynamic crisis management and allow for inter-agency collaboration in real-time.[27][28] Another function was to be able to make estimates of possible future scenarios to assist intelligence officials in deciding what to do,[29] in a manner similar to the DARPA’s Deep Green program which is designed to assist Army commanders in making battlefield decisions.
Wargaming the Asymmetric Environment (WAE)

Wargaming the Asymmetric Environment (WAE) focused on developing automated technology capable of identifying predictive indicators of terrorist activity or impending attacks by examining individual and group behavior in broad environmental context and examining the motivation of specific terrorists.[30]
Effective Affordable Reusable Speech-to-text (EARS)
Graphic from the Information Awareness Office’s website describing the goals of the Effective, Affordable, Reusable Speech-to-Text (EARS) project

Effective Affordable Reusable Speech-to-text (EARS) to develop automatic speech-to-text transcription technology whose output is substantially richer and much more accurate than previously possible. EARS was to focus on everyday human-to-human speech from broadcasts and telephone conversations in multiple languages.[31] It is expected to increase the speed with which speech can be processed by computers by 100 times or more.[29]

The intent is to create a core enabling technology (technology that is used as a component for future technologies) suitable for a wide range of future surveillance applications.[31]
Babylon

Babylon to develop rapid, two-way, natural language speech translation interfaces and platforms for the warfighter for use in field environments for force protection, refugee processing, and medical triage.[32]
Bio-Surveillance

Bio-Surveillance to develop the necessary information technologies and resulting prototype capable of detecting the covert release of a biological pathogen automatically, and significantly earlier than traditional approaches.[33]
Communicator
Diagram (from official IAO site) describing capabilities of the “Communicator” project

Communicator was to develop “dialogue interaction” technology that enables warfighters to talk with computers, such that information will be accessible on the battlefield or in command centers without ever having to touch a keyboard. The Communicator Platform was to be both wireless and mobile, and to be designed to function in a networked environment.[34]

The dialogue interaction software was to interpret the context of the dialogue in order to improve performance, and to be capable of automatically adapting to new topics (because situations quickly change in war) so conversation is natural and efficient. The Communicator program emphasized task knowledge to compensate for natural language effects and noisy environments. Unlike automated translation of natural language speech, which is much more complex due to an essentially unlimited vocabulary and grammar, the Communicator program is directed task specific issues so that there are constrained vocabularies (the system only needs to be able to understand language related to war). Research was also started to focus on foreign language computer interaction for use in supporting coalition operations.[34]

Live exercises were conducted involving small unit logistics operations involving the United States Marines to test the technology in extreme environments.[34]
Components of TIA projects that continue to be developed

Despite the withdrawal of funding for the TIA and the closing of the IAO, the core of the project survived.[11][12][35] Legislators included a classified annex to the Defense Appropriations Act that preserved funding for TIA’s component technologies, if they were transferred to other government agencies. TIA projects continued to be funded under classified annexes to Defense and Intelligence appropriation bills. However, the act also stipulated that the technologies only be used for military or foreign intelligence purposes against foreigners.[36]

TIA’s two core projects are now operated by Advanced Research and Development Activity (ARDA) located among the 60-odd buildings of “Crypto City” at NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, MD. ARDA itself has been shifted from the NSA to the Disruptive Technology Office (run by the Director of National Intelligence). They are funded by National Foreign Intelligence Program for foreign counterterrorism intelligence purposes.

One technology, codenamed “Basketball” is the Information Awareness Prototype System, the core architecture to integrate all the TIA’s information extraction, analysis, and dissemination tools. Work on this project is conducted by SAIC through its former Hicks & Associates consulting arm run by former Defense and military officials and which had originally been awarded US$19 million IAO contract to build the prototype system in late 2002.[37]

The other project has been re-designated “Topsail” (formerly Genoa II) and would provide IT tools to help anticipate and preempt terrorist attacks. SAIC has also been contracted to work on Topsail, including a US$3.7 million contract in 2005.
Media coverage and criticism

The first mention of the IAO in the mainstream media came from The New York Times reporter John Markoff on February 13, 2002.[38] Initial reports contained few details about the program. In the following months, as more information emerged about the scope of the TIA project, civil libertarians became concerned over what they saw as the potential for the development of an Orwellian mass surveillance system.

On November 14, 2002, The New York Times published a column by William Safire in which he claimed “[TIA] has been given a $200 million budget to create computer dossiers on 300 million Americans.”[39] Safire has been credited with triggering the anti-TIA movement.[40]
See also

ADVISE, full population data mining & analysis to “monitor social threats”
Carnivore, FBI US digital interception program
Combat Zones That See, or CTS, a project to link up all security cameras citywide and “track everything that moves”.
Communications Assistance For Law Enforcement Act
ECHELON, NSA worldwide digital interception program
Fusion center
Government Information Awareness
Information Processing Technology Office
Intellipedia, a collection of wikis used by the U.S. intelligence community to “connect the dots” between pieces of intelligence
MALINTENT—similar program to HumanID
Mass surveillance
Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange
Pre-crime concept in criminology
PRISM (surveillance program)
Synthetic Environment for Analysis and Simulations
TALON (database)
Utah Data Center

References

“Information Awareness Office”. DARPA. Archived from the original on 2 August 2002.
Tim Dowling. “What does the Prism logo mean?”. The Guardian. Retrieved 30 November 2013. “The Prism logo is slightly more opaque than the one used by the US government’s Information Awareness Office, which boasted an all-seeing eye atop a pyramid, casting a golden light across an adjacent planet Earth.”
Hendrik Hertzberg (December 9, 2002). “Too Much Information”. The New Yorker. Retrieved 30 November 2013. “The Information Awareness Office’s official seal features an occult pyramid topped with mystic all-seeing eye, like the one on the dollar bill. Its official motto is “Scientia Est Potentia,” which doesn’t mean “science has a lot of potential.” It means “knowledge is power.””
Jonathan Turley (November 17, 2002). “George Bush’s Big Brother”. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
James Poulos. “Obama Administration Anti-Leak Scheme Shows Precrime and Total Information Awareness Go Hand In Hand”. Forbes. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
John Horgan. “U.S. Never Really Ended Creepy “Total Information Awareness” Program”. Scientific American. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
John Markoff (November 22, 2002). “Pentagon Plans a Computer System That Would Peek at Personal Data of Americans”. The New York Times.
Total Information Awareness (TIA), Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
Dismantling the Empire: America’s Last Best Hope By Chalmers Johnson ISBN 0-8050-9303-6 “Congress’s action did not end the Total Information Awareness program. The National Security Agency secretly decided to continue it through its private contractors.”
“Total/Terrorism Information Awareness (TIA): Is It Truly Dead?”. Electronic Frontier Foundation (official website). 2003. Archived from the original on 2009-03-25. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
Harris, Shane (Feb 23, 2006). “TIA Lives On”. National Journal. Archived from the original on May 28, 2011. Retrieved 2009-03-16.
“U.S. Still Mining Terror Data”. Wired News. February 23, 2004.
Lundin, Leigh (7 July 2013). “Pam, Prism, and Poindexter”. Spying. Washington: SleuthSayers. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
Overview of the Information Awareness Office
Search Results – THOMAS (Library of Congress)
The Global Information Society Project
Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2004, Pub. L. No. 108–87, § 8131, 117 Stat. 1054, 1102 (2003)
149 Cong. Rec. H8755—H8771 (24 September 2003)
“Human Identification at a distance”. Information Awareness Office (official website — mirror). Archived from the original on February 15, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
“Evidence Extraction and Link Discovery”. Information Awareness Office (official website — mirror). Archived from the original on 2009-02-15. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
“Genisys”. Information Awareness Office (official website). Archived from the original on 2009-02-16. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
Lee, Newton (7 April 2015). Counterterrorism and Cybersecurity: Total Information Awareness (2, illustrated, revised ed.). Springer. p. 141. ISBN 9783319172446.
Ethier, Jason. “Current Research in Social Network Theory”. Northeastern University College of Computer and Information Science. Archived from the original on February 26, 2015. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
FutureMap Archived 2006-02-05 at the Wayback Machine
CNN
“TIDES”. Information Awareness Office (official website — mirror). Archived from the original on 2009-02-15. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
“Genoa”. Information Awareness Office (official website). Archived from the original on 2009-02-16. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
“Genoa II”. Information Awareness Office (official website). Archived from the original on 2009-02-15. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
Belasco, Amy (January 21, 2003). “EFF: Memorandum Regarding TIA Funding”. Electronic Frontier Foundation. Archived from the original on April 29, 2017. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
“Wargaming the Asymmetric Environment (WAE)”. www.darpa.mil/iao. Information Awareness Office. Archived from the original on 28 May 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
“EARS”. Information Awareness Office (official website — mirror). Archived from the original on 2009-05-07. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
Babylon Archived 2006-07-15 at the Wayback Machine
BSS Archived 2006-09-19 at the Wayback Machine
“Communicator”. Information Awareness Office (official website). Archived from the original on 2009-02-15. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
Wanted: Competent Big Brothers Archived 2008-05-17 at the Wayback Machine, Newsweek, 8 February 2006, retrieved 27 July 2007
The Total Information Awareness Project Lives On, Technology Review, 26 April 2006, retrieved 27 July 2007
TIA Lives On, National Journal, 23 February 2006, retrieved 27 July 2007
Markoff, John (February 13, 2002). “Chief Takes Over at Agency To Thwart Attacks on U.S”. The New York Times. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
Safire, William (2002-11-14). “You Are a Suspect”. The New York Times. p. 2. Retrieved 2010-10-21.

Big Brother …

Further reading

Copies of the original IAO web pages formerly available at https://web.archive.org/web/20021123234437/http://www.darpa.mil/iao/ (June 12, 2002 – June 3, 2003) can be found at Archive index at the Wayback Machine
John Poindexter, Overview of the Information Awareness Office (Remarks as prepared for delivery by Dr. John Poindexter, Director, Information Awareness Office, at the DARPATech 2002 Conference) (August 2, 2002).

External links

Information Awareness Office

Media coverage

Harris, Shane (February 26, 2006). “TIA Lives On”. The National Journal. Archived from the original on May 17, 2008.
“Pentagon Defends Surveillance Program”. The Washington Post. May 20, 2003.
Webb, Cynthia L. (May 21, 2003). “The Pentagon’s PR Play”. The Washington Post.
Bray, Hiawatha (April 4, 2003). “Mining Data to Fight Terror Stirs Privacy Fears”. The Boston Globe. pp. C2.
McCullagh, Declan (January 15, 2003). “Pentagon database plan hits snag on Hill”. CNET News.com.
Markoff, John (February 13, 2002). “Chief Takes Over at Agency To Thwart Attacks on U.S.” The New York Times. pp. (first mainstream media mention of IAO).

Academic articles

K. A. Taipale (2003). “Data Mining and Domestic Security: Connecting the Dots to Make Sense of Data”. Columbia Sci. & Tech. Law Review. 5 (2): 1–83 (TIA discussed 39–50). SSRN 546782.
Robert Popp and John Poindexter (November–December 2006). “Countering Terrorism through Information and Privacy Protection Technologies” (PDF). IEEE Security & Privacy: 18–26.

Critical views

“TIA: Total Information Awareness”. American Civil Liberties Union. January 16, 2004.
Charles V. Peña (November 22, 2002). “TIA: Information Awareness Office Makes Us a Nation of Suspects”. Cato Institute. Archived from the original on December 1, 2002.
“Total/Terrorism Information Awareness (TIA): Is It Truly Dead? EFF: It’s Too Early to Tell”. Electronic Frontier Foundation. Archived from the original on 2007-09-15. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
“Total “Terrorism” Information Awareness (TIA): Latest News”. Electronic Privacy Information Center.
“A Times Editorial: Unfocused data-mining”. St. Petersburg Times. January 24, 2003.

Russ Kick. “Information Awareness Office Website Deletes Its Logo”. The Memory Hole. Archived from the original on 2002-12-28. Retrieved 2002-12-19.

Proponent views

Mac Donald, Heather (January 27, 2003). “Total Misrepresentation”. The Weekly Standard.
Levin, Jonathan (February 13, 2003). “Total Preparedness: The case for the Defense Department’s Total Information Awareness project”. National Review.
Taylor, Jr., Stuart (December 10, 2002). “Big Brother and Another Overblown Privacy Scare”. The Atlantic. Archived from the original on December 26, 2002.

Accord:

Shane Ham & Robert D. Atkinson (2002). “Using Technology to Detect and Prevent Terrorism” (PDF). Progressive Policy Institute. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-26.
“Safeguarding Privacy in the Fight Against Terrorism” (PDF). DOD Technology and Privacy Advisory Committee (TAPAC). March 2004.

Also:

Ignatius, David (August 1, 2003). “Back in the Safe Zone”. The Washington Post. pp. A19 (discussing opposition to the IAO FutureMap project).

Categories:

DARPA offices Government databases in the United States Mass surveillance 2002 establishments in the United StatesOrganizations established in 2002

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ACLU:

Q&A on the Pentagon’s “Total Information Awareness” Program

What is the Total Information Awareness (TIA) Program?

TIA may be the closest thing to a true “Big Brother” program that has ever been seriously contemplated in the United States. It is based on a vision of pulling together as much information as possible about as many people as possible into an “ultra-large-scale” database, making that information available to government officials, and sorting through it to try to identify terrorists. Since the amount of public and private information on our lives is growing by leaps and bounds every week, a government project that seeks to put all that information together is a radical and frightening thing.
Who runs the program?

TIA is run by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a branch of the Department of Defense that works on military research. It is headed by John Poindexter, the former Reagan-era National Security Adviser known for his involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal, who famously said that it was his duty to withhold information from Congress.
Is this program unique?

No. There is another effort underway that could bring about a similar result: an airline profiling system called CAPS II. CAPS II would collect massive amounts of information about the tens of millions of American who fly each year and use that information to create profiles. Its use in the airline context gives it a lot more surface appeal, and it has been presented in a far less threatening manner, but it is based on the same faulty premise that terrorism can be prevented by collecting hoards of information about everyone and then subjecting them to a virtual dragnet.
How much information would be available to the program?

Virtual dragnet programs like TIA and CAPS II are based on the premise that the best way to protect America against terrorism is to for the government to collect as much information as it can about everyone – and these days, that is a LOT of information. They could incorporate not only government records of all kinds but individuals’ medical and financial records, political beliefs, travel history, prescriptions, buying habits, communications (phone calls, e-mails and Web surfing), school records, personal and family associations, and so on.

In the last decade we have witnessed an enormous explosion in the amount of tracking and information of individuals in the United States, due mainly to two factors:

Technology. The explosion of computers, cameras, location-sensors, wireless communication, biometrics, and other technologies is making it a lot easier to track, store, and analyze information about individuals’ activities.
The commercialization of data. Corporations in recent years have discovered that detailed information about consumers is extremely valuable, and are in the process of figuring out how to squeeze every available penny out of this revenue source. That is why consumers are increasingly being asked for their information everywhere they turn, from product registration forms to loyalty programs to sweepstakes entry forms. As a result, private sector incentives are now aligned with the interests of those in government who wish to track everyone’s behavior. The government has not been shy about buying that data, and it is envisioned as a primary source for the TIA database.

The information that is generated and retained about our activities is becoming so rich that if all that information about us was put together, it would almost be like having a video camera following us around. Programs like TIA would make such “data surveillance” a reality.
What is wrong with the TIA Program?

There are five major problems with the concept behind programs like “Total Information Awareness” and CAPS II:

It would kill privacy in America. Under this program, every aspect of our lives would be catalogued and made available to government officials. Americans have the right to expect that their lives will not become an open book when they have not done, and are not even suspected of doing, anything wrong.
It harbors a tremendous potential for abuse. The motto of the TIA program is that “”knowledge is power,”” and in fact the keepers of the TIA database would gain a tremendous amount of power over American citizens. Inevitably, some of them will abuse that power. An example of the kind of abuses that can happen were chronicled in a July 2001 investigation by the Detroit Free Press (and December 2001 followup): the newspaper found that police officers with access to a database for Michigan law enforcement had used it to help their friends or themselves stalk women, threaten motorists, track estranged spouses – even to intimidate political opponents. Experience has shown that when large numbers of Americans challenge the government’s policy (for example in Vietnam), some parts of the government react by conducting surveillance and using it against critics. The unavoidable truth is that a super-database like TIA will lead to super-abuses.
It is based on virtual dragnets instead of individualized suspicion. TIA would represent a radical departure from the centuries-old Anglo-American tradition that the police conduct surveillance only where there is evidence of involvement in wrongdoing. It would seek to protect us by monitoring everyone for signs of wrongdoing – by instituting a giant dragnet capable of sifting through the personal lives of Americans. It would ruin the very American values that our government is supposed to be protecting.
It would not be effective. The program is based on highly speculative assumptions about how databases can be tapped to stop terrorism, and there are good reasons to suspect that it would not work at all (see below).
It fails basic balancing tests. The benefits of this program in stopping terrorism are highly speculative, but the damage that it would do to American freedom is certain.

Why would TIA be ineffective?

There is no question that if government agents track the lives and activities of everyone, they will probably experience some marginal improvement in their ability to stop terrorism – though even a perfect totalitarian society could not stop every attack (the Nazis were unable to stop attacks by the Resistance in France and other occupied nations during World War II, for example). And there is no question that many other, more direct steps that the U.S. is taking will significantly improve our security. The real question is how much additional safety would a TIA program bring us over and above all the other steps we’re taking (tightened borders, improved overseas intelligence, increased airport security, etc).

There is good reason to think the answer is: not much at all. Some versions of TIA described by Defense officials are based on the dubious premise that “terrorist patterns” can be ferreted out from the enormous mass of American lives using techniques known as “data mining” that try to identify hidden patterns in large masses of data. What attracts proponents of this scheme is that data mining has proven very successful in some commercial contexts, such as the discovery of suspicious spending patterns that indicate credit card fraud. The problem is that in order to be effective, data miners need an enormous amount of sample data to work from. Credit card companies experience a vast amount of fraud, which allows them to go back and find patterns of behavior that are associated with it. But as horrific as the 9/11 attacks were, there have been very few overall incidents of terrorism within the United States in the recent past, so it is difficult to understand how these programs will be able to identify true patterns of suspicious behavior, and easy to imagine how they will simply end up reflecting the beliefs and prejudices of their programmers about what that behavior looks like (and there’s no need to sift through data about millions of citizens to do that).

A debate appears to be underway within government over the utility of data mining to fight terrorism. Publicly, TIA officials have recently said that they never intended to carry out such data mining. Even their more modest descriptions of what TIA would do, however, are of questionable effectiveness and would devastate privacy. (See the May 2003 ACLU report on the questions TIA must answer for Congress: Total Information Compliance.)

In fact, a program like TIA could actually reduce our security by draining resources from more effective measures like improved collection of on-the-ground foreign intelligence.

In the wake of the September 11 attacks, numerous intelligence experts declared that the government’s problem was a failure to sift targeted intelligence information from the masses of useless data. The TIA solution to that problem would be to exponentially increase the amount of junk data that the government collects. You don’t find a needle in a haystack by bringing in more hay.

If TIA is implemented, it will probably fail at preventing the next terrorist attack. But once created, that kind of failure is unlikely to lead to the program being shut down. Instead, it will probably just spur the government into an ever-more furious effort to collect ever-greater amounts of personal information on ever-more people in a vain effort to make the concept work. We would then have the worst of both worlds: poor security and a super-charged surveillance tool that would destroy Americans’ privacy and threaten our freedom.
What can I do to help stop this program?

There are at least four things you can do to help stop the blatantly un-American goal of “Total Information Awareness”

Educate yourself about this program and tell your friends about it.
Use the ACLU’s “Action Alert” page to send a free and easy fax to President Bush asking him to pull the plug on this research.
Let your member of Congress know how you feel (locate your member here and check out tips on writing your elected representatives.
Support the ACLU’s efforts to fight this program by joining us .

For more on TIA see the ACLU analysis: Is the Threat From TIA “Overblown”? and the ACLU Report Total Information Compliance.

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