Poindexter’s Police State

In the email posted below, Chris Hoofnagle of EPIC is circulating a letter in opposition to Poindexter’s police state designs. So far, to my knowledge at least 25 organizations including EPIC, The Multiracial Activist, the American Library Association and the Libertarian Party have signed on. If your organization is interested, read his message below and email him at the address provided. You have until 5:00 pm today:

Hello all,

In recent days, John Poindexter’s DARPA project, “Total Information Awareness” (TIA) has been a front-page topic. TIA aims to capture the “information signature” of people so that the government can track potential
terrorists and criminals involved in “low-intensity/low-density” forms of warfare and crime. The goal is to track individuals through collecting as much information about them as possible and using computer algorithms and human analysis to detect potential activity. The TIA database will encompass all personal information that the government can possibly acquire–this includes biometric identifiers, medical records, communications data, financial records, and educational records.

We will send a letter to the Senate leadership today, urging them to stop TIA. We need as many signatories as possible for this letter. If you can join, please send a contact name and title, organization name, and phone number to me (hoofnagle@epic.org) by 5 PM today.

For more information about TIA, see the EPIC TIA page:

Thank you,

November 18, 2002

Senator Tom Daschle
Washington, DC 20510

Senator Trent Lott
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senators Daschle and Lott:

We write to you as a nonpartisan coalition of organizations from across the country to urge you to adopt an amendment to the pending Homeland Security Act that would stop further development of a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) system called “Total Information Awareness” (TIA).

According to DARPA’s own documents, TIA will collect and mine vast amounts of information on the American public, including telephone records, bank records, medical records, and educational and travel data. TIA also proposes to connect with a massive system of biometric identification.

There are no systems of oversight or accountability contemplated in the TIA project. DARPA itself has resisted lawful requests for information about the program pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act.

Newspapers across the country have blasted the Department of Defense surveillance system. The New York Times said today that “Congress should shut down the program pending a thorough investigation.” Earlier the Washington Post wrote, “the defense secretary should appoint an outside committee to oversee it before it proceeds.”

We urge you to act immediately to stop the development of this unconstitutional system of public surveillance.


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