National Journal, By Aliya Sternstein , Feb 26, 2010.
White House officials said a January memo aimed at encouraging information sharing and issued in response to the Christmas Day attempted bombing of a commercial jet, should not be perceived as a revival of the controversial data-sifting program that the Bush administration launched after the September 2001 terrorist attacks, Next Gov reported.
The comment came in response to a public interchange earlier this week among three security and information technology specialists who said President Obama's plan for "knowledge discovery," a term included in the memo, resembles the Total Information Awareness program, which the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency initiated unsuccessfully in 2002.
"The Obama administration considers an individual's privacy and civil rights of critical importance, and [intelligence community] actions concern government data sets, not outside data sources. In no way should the corrective actions memo be construed as requiring a TIA-like IT solution. The term 'knowledge discovery' does not mean TIA," White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said Wednesday.
He was referring to a January memo intended to repair systemic weaknesses identified after the failed attempt to bring down a Detroit-bound plane on Christmas Day. "The IT requirement is a need to fuse existing data in [government] holdings, not aggregate commercial U.S. persons' data from private data sources," Shapiro added.
At an information-sharing talk hosted by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation on Tuesday, K. A. Taipale, executive director of the Stilwell Center for Advanced Studies in Science and Technology Policy, and two other technology experts said the tools being developed under the TIA program and the technologies outlined in the memo sound very similar.