Monday, March 15, 2004

The Fate of Privacy: Novel Intelligence from Massive Data picks up where Total Information Awareness left off...except with fewer privacy safeguards

The San Diego Union-Tribune has an article about federal data-mining programs after the death of Total Information Awareness (TIA).

Selected Quote:
Late last year, Congress closed Poindexter's office in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in response to the uproar over its impact on privacy.

But Congress allowed some Poindexter projects, including some data-mining research, to be transferred to intelligence agencies. Congress also left intact similar data-mining research begun in the fall of 2002 by the Advanced Research and Development Activity (ARDA), a little-known office that works on behalf of U.S. intelligence.

The research sponsored by ARDA, called Novel Intelligence from Massive Data, is so similar to some work done for Poindexter that [Teresa Lunt of the Palo Alto Research Center] offered to adapt her privacy protection software to it. ARDA and other agencies were not interested because Congress had killed the original projects.

Last fall's Intelligence Authorization Act approved continued research on the type of powerful data-mining Poindexter envisioned but said "the policies and procedures necessary to safeguard individual liberties and privacy should occur concurrently with the development of these analytic tools, not as an afterthought."

ARDA said it obeys all privacy laws and has not given its researchers any government or private data. Still, it declined to say whether it is sponsoring any research on privacy protection.

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