Friday, October 27, 2006

TANGRAM: The Intelligence Czar's New Data-Mining Program That Hunts Down Terrorists!

The U.S. intelligence czar John Negroponte is giving Tim Sparapani of the ACLU a hissy fit!

According to an article by Shaun Waterman in the Washington Times (10-26-06), the US is using data mining to uncover terrorists:

The U.S. intelligence czar is developing a computer system capable of mining huge amounts of information about everyday events for patterns that look like terrorist planning -- technology reminiscent of the discontinued Total Information Awareness (TIA) program.

Civil liberties and privacy advocates have criticized the effort, called Tangram, which is being developed by contractors working for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte.

"They are misdirecting resources towards this kind of fanciful, science-fiction project," said Tim Sparapani, legislative counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union, "while neglecting the basics" of good counterterrorism detective work.

Mr. Negroponte's office declined to comment on the program, but it is described in some detail in a procurement document posted on the Web by the U.S. Air Force, and officials have said it is being tested without using any data about Americans.

The document says the system -- funded for $49 million in research over the next four years -- will build on previous work by U.S. intelligence agencies to develop "methods of ... efficiently searching large data stores for evidence of known [terrorist] behaviors." [Full Text]
Another article about Tangram cam be found here.

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