United States Department of Defense
February 7, 2003
TOTAL INFORMATION AWARENESS (TIA) UPDATE
The Department of Defense will establish two boards to provide oversight of the Total Information Awareness Project, the program designed to develop tools to track terrorists. The two boards, an internal oversight board and an outside advisory committee, will work with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), as it continues its research. These boards will help ensure that TIA develops and disseminates its products to track terrorists in a manner consistent with U.S. constitutional law, U.S. statutory law, and American values related to privacy.
The TIA internal oversight board will oversee and monitor the manner in which terrorist tracking tools are transitioned for real world use. This board will establish policies and procedures for use within DoD of the TIA-developed tools and will establish protocols for transferring these capabilities to entities outside DoD. A primary focus of the board will be to ensure that the TIA-developed tools to track terrorists will be used only in accordance with existing privacy protection laws and policies. The board, which is expected to hold its first meeting by the end of February 2003, will be composed of senior DoD officials.
The outside advisory board will be convened as a federal advisory committee and will comply with all the legal and regulatory requirements for such bodies. The committee will advise the Secretary of Defense on the range of policy and legal issues that are raised by the development and potential application of advanced technology to help identify terrorists before they act.
Members of the outside advisory board are Newton Minow (chairman), director of the Annenberg Washington Program and the Annenberg Professor of Communications Law and Policy at Northwestern University; Floyd Abrams, renowned civil rights attorney; Zoe Baird, director Markel Foundation; Griffin Bell, former U.S. Attorney General and Court of Appeals judge; Gerhard Casper, president emeritus for Stanford University and Professor of Law; William T. Coleman, former chairman and CEO of BEA (world's leading application and infrastructure company) and now Chief Customer Advocate; and Lloyd Cutler, former White House Counsel.
DARPA is continuing its research into whether advanced technologies can be used to help identify terrorist planning activities. This technology development program was established under the name Total Information Awareness (TIA) and is designed to catch terrorists before they strike. Under the rubric of TIA, DARPA is attempting to develop three categories of tools - language translation, data search and pattern recognition, and advanced collaborative and decision support tools. The research conducted under TIA will provide the tools for obtaining information pertaining to activities of terrorists, and if connected together, this information could alert authorities before terrorists' plans are carried out. While the research to date is promising, TIA is still only a concept.
Development of these anti-terrorism tracking tools would allow the agencies to better execute their missions. TIA does not plan to create a gigantic database. Further, TIA has not ever collected or gathered and is not now collecting or gathering any intelligence information. This is and will continue to be the responsibility of the US foreign intelligence/counterintelligence agencies, which operate under various legal and policy restrictions with congressional oversight. This technology development program in no way alters the authority or responsibility of the intelligence community. Furthermore, TIA has never collected, and has no plan or intent to collect privately held consumer data on U.S. citizens. It is a research program designed to catch terrorists before they strike.