Privacy is safe, they changed the name


What's good for Microsoft must certainly be good for the US Department of Defense. Under attack by privacy and civil liberties groups for their Total Information Awareness program, the DoD has now stated that TIA means Terrorism Information Awareness.

I feel just about as much safer now as I did when Microsoft dropped the name Palladium from their lock-you-in-to-Microsoft-architectures-forever plan.

An article in Wired reports that the DoD report (108 pages, summary available) submitted yesterday was presented to respond to congressional concerns about TIA's implications.

Quoting directly from the summary, page 1, footnote 1: "Previously known as Total Information Awareness, this name created in some minds the impression that TIA was a system to be used for developing dossiers on U.S. citizens. This is not DoD's intent in pursuing this program. Rather, DoD's purpose in pursuing these efforts is to protect U.S. citizens by detecting and defeating foregign terrorist threats before an attack. To make this objective absolutely clear, DARPA has changed the program name to Terrorism Information Awareness."

Boy, I can sleep better knowing that it isn't their intent to spy on Americans... NOT!

Ironically, if you find any typos in the above passage, they are mine because the security settings in the acrobat file prevent printing or copying of the information in the file. Darned good thing we've secured our public documents from being quoted or printed!

Of course, with Palladium, they could create a universal self-destruct so that the information would not be available at all a few weeks or months later, thereby creating a wonderfully Orwellian ideal whereby history has an intended lifespan that is enforced by information technology. However, I'm sure that Mr. Gates and his crew don't intend to have their technology used for that purpose either, so I feel much better about Palladium too... NOT!

Too much sarcasm for one morning.