. "Appendix J: The Total/Terrorist Information Awareness Program." Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against Terrorists: A Framework for Program Assessment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2008.
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Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against Terrorists: A Framework for Program Assessment
would force terrorists to carry out attacks along particular lines, thus limiting the threats of interest and concern to TIA technology.
The TIA program was cast broadly as one that would “integrate advanced collaborative and decision support tools; language translation; and data search, pattern recognition, and privacy protection technologies into an experimental prototype network focused on combating terrorism through better analysis and decision making.”5 Regarding data-searching and pattern recognition, research was premised on the idea that
… terrorist planning activities or a likely terrorist attack could be uncovered by searching for indications of terrorist activities in vast quantities of transaction data. Terrorists must engage in certain transactions to coordinate and conduct attacks against Americans, and these transactions form patterns that may be detectable. Initial thoughts are to connect these transactions (e.g., applications for passports, visas, work permits, and drivers’ licenses; automotive rentals; and purchases of airline ticket and chemicals) with events, such as arrests or suspicious activities.6
As described in the DOD TIA report, “These transactions would form a pattern that may be discernable in certain databases to which the U.S Government would have lawful access. Specific patterns would be identified that are related to potential terrorist planning.”7
Furthermore, the program would focus on analyzing nontargeted transaction and event data en masse rather than on collecting information on specific individuals and trying to understand what they were doing. The intent of the program was to develop technology that could discern event and transaction patterns of interest and then identify individuals of interest on the basis of the events and transactions in which they participated. Once such individuals were identified, they could be investigated or surveilled in accordance with normal and ordinary law-enforcement and counterterrorism procedures.
The driving example that motivated TIA was the set of activities of the 9/11 terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center. In retrospect, it was discovered that they had taken actions that together could be seen
Defense Advanced Research Programs Agency (DARPA), “Report to Congress Regarding the Terrorism Information Awareness Program: In response to Consolidated Appropriations Resolution, 2003, Pub. L. No. 108-7, Division M, § 111(b),” DARPA, Arlington, Va., May 20, 2003.
Defense Advanced Research Programs Agency (DARPA), “Report to Congress Regarding the Terrorism Information Awareness Program: In response to Consolidated Appropriations Resolution, 2003, Pub. L. No. 108-7, Division M, § 111(b),” May 20, 2003, p. 14.