KDnuggets : News : 2002 : n24 : item4 < PREVIOUS | NEXT >


From: Gregory Piatetsky-Shapiro
Date: 03 Dec 2002
Subject: DARPA Director Tony Tether response to concerns about Total Information Awareness

Here are excerpts from DARPA Director Dr. Antony Tether email about TIA.

As a result of September 11, 2001, DARPA established the Information Awareness Office (IAO) whose mission is to research and demonstrate advanced information technology capabilities to prevent future terrorist acts.

IAO is developing technologies to facilitate, for example, (1) language translation, (2) discovery of connections between transactions and events, and (3) collaborative reasoning tools allowing analyst's in diverse agencies to effectively communicate and analyze problems together.

The director of IAO is Dr. John Poindexter. Why John? John is the only person who has the vision, passion and intellect to guide and implement the IAO vision.

In addition to technology, a prototype called the Total Information Awareness (TIA) system is being developed to integrate together the above technologies to determine if vast quantities of data can be searched to identify links and patterns indicative of terrorist activities. The testing will initially use synthetic data, fabricated to resemble data about real-life events.

If the usefulness of the technologies is proven in a research environment, the intelligence, counterintelligence, and law-enforcement communities will have the opportunity to test these technologies with their operational data.

There is a privacy issue if transactional data such as bank records and credit card charges are used as part of the input data. IAO is developing technology to keep the ID of the individual protected and not made available to the analyst's until a case can be made to obtain a warrant releasing the ID of the individual. This is non-trivial and we don't know yet if this can be done. Even if, as a result of the privacy policy debate, agencies and Congress decide that these elements of TIA should not be used, the technology developed for TIA will help us better analyze and make decisions using the conventional intelligence data we collect today.

Bottom line however is that this is a research project aimed at developing techniques that could discover terrorists and allow us to preempt them before they can act. This seems like a worthwhile expenditure of funds which if successful will have a major positive impact on our National Security.

KDnuggets : News : 2002 : n24 : item4 < PREVIOUS | NEXT >

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