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Date: 2002-11-09

US: Das totale Datamining

Ohne viel Aufsehens davon zu machen, ist mit Admiral Poindexter ein besonderer Hardliner aus der Reagan-Ära zurückgekehrt.Wegen einer Hauptrolle in der so genannten Iran-Contra Affäre zwischendurch ausgeschieden, steht Poindexter nun dem "Office of Information Awareness" an der "Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency" vor. Seine Aufgabe ist die Abwicklung des totalen Zugriffs auf alle logfiles und Banktransaktionen, Kreditkarten- und Airline-Datenbanken, - ohne Gerichtsbeschluss, wie gehabt.
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The Pentagon is constructing a computer system that could create a vast
electronic dragnet, searching for personal information as part of the hunt
for terrorists around the globe - including the United States.

As the director of the effort, Vice Adm. John M. Poindexter, has described
the system in Pentagon documents and in speeches, it will provide
intelligence analysts and law enforcement officials with instant access to
information from Internet mail and calling records to credit card and
banking transactions and travel documents, without a search warrant.

Historically, military and intelligence agencies have not been permitted to
spy on Americans without extraordinary legal authorization.


Admiral Poindexter, who has described the plan in public documents and
speeches but declined to be interviewed, has said that 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.


Admiral Poindexter quietly returned to the government in January to take
charge of the Office of Information Awareness at the Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency, known as Darpa. The office is responsible for
developing new surveillance technologies in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.


The possibility that the system might be deployed domestically to let
intelligence officials look into commercial transactions worries civil
liberties proponents.

"This could be the perfect storm for civil liberties in America," said Marc
Rotenberg, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in
Washington "The vehicle is the Homeland Security Act, the technology is
Darpa and the agency is the F.B.I. The outcome is a system of national
surveillance of the American public."


Some members of a panel of computer scientists and policy experts who were
asked by the Pentagon to review the privacy implications this summer said
terrorists might find ways to avoid detection and that the system might be
easily abused.

"A lot of my colleagues are uncomfortable about this and worry about the
potential uses that this technology might be put, if not by this
administration then by a future one," said Barbara Simon, a computer
scientist who is past president of the Association of Computing Machinery.
"Once you've got it in place you can't control it."


If deployed, civil libertarians argue, the computer system would rapidly
bring a surveillance state. They assert that potential terrorists would
soon learn how to avoid detection in any case.

The new system will rely on a set of computer-based pattern recognition
techniques known as "data mining," a set of statistical techniques used by
scientists as well as by marketers searching for potential customers.

The system would permit a team of intelligence analysts to gather and view
information from databases, pursue links between individuals and groups,
respond to automatic alerts, and share information efficiently, all from
their individual computers.


Before taking the position at the Pentagon, Admiral Poindexter, who was
convicted in 1990 for his role in the Iran-contra affair, had worked as a
contractor on one of the projects he now controls. Admiral Poindexter's
conviction was reversed in 1991 by a federal appeals court because he had
been granted immunity for his testimony before Congress about the case.

tnx 2 Georg Schoefbaenker

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edited by Harkank
published on: 2002-11-09
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