Total Information Awareness Project Undergoes First Test - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
News

Total Information Awareness Project Undergoes First Test

A key technologist on the project says Americans must be prepared to trade some privacy for security.

Pentagon researchers this month completed the first set of test data for the controversial Total Information Awareness system, a key technologist for the project says.

Lt. Col. Doug Dyer, a program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), said at an IBM-sponsored conference on data privacy in Almaden, Calif., this week that Americans must trade some privacy for security. "Three thousand people died on 9/11. When you consider the potential effect of a terrorist attack against the privacy of an entire population, there has to be some trade-off," Dyer says.

Total Information Awareness, an experimental computer system being developed by Darpa under Vice Adm. John Poindexter, seeks to scan information about passport, visa, and work-permit applications, plus information about purchases of airline tickets, hotel rooms, over-the-counter drugs, and chemicals--both here and abroad--to discern "signature" patterns of terrorist behavior. Congressional leaders have criticized the system's potential to spy on Americans and agreed to restrict further research and development without consulting Congress.

Signals of potential terrorist activity are likely to be weak amid a field of data "noise," Dyer says. TIA is designed to seek patterns that could indicate terrorist behavior while preserving people's anonymity, he adds. "We're testing our hypothesis on nothing but synthetic data."

Total Information Awareness, the keystone project of Darpa's Information Awareness Office, incorporates language-translation, data-searching and pattern-recognition, and decision-support technologies, according to the project's Web site. According to Dyer, the system won't scan "irrelevant" personal information about Americans, such as medical records, but could consider records of over-the-counter drug purchases, which could indicate planning of a bioterrorist attack.

Dyer says the initial experiment data set, completed this month, could also consider relationships between purchases of certain chemicals, whether the buyer or a family member was involved in an activity such as farming that could explain a benign reason for the purchase, and where the purchase was made.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
Slideshows
Top-Paying U.S. Cities for Data Scientists and Data Analysts
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  11/5/2019
Slideshows
10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  11/1/2019
Commentary
Is the Computer Science Degree Dead?
Guest Commentary, Guest Commentary,  11/6/2019
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Getting Started With Emerging Technologies
Looking to help your enterprise IT team ease the stress of putting new/emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning and IoT to work for their organizations? There are a few ways to get off on the right foot. In this report we share some expert advice on how to approach some of these seemingly daunting tech challenges.
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll