RealNews

Budget Panel Bans Funding for Data Mining Program

A House and Senate panel of negotiators has agreed to include a provision in the compromise spending bill banning funding for the Pentagon’s Total Information Awareness (TIA) project. The controversial data mining program aims to capture the “information signature” of people in order to track potential terrorists and has been sharply criticized by privacy and civil liberties groups. Last month, the Senate decided on a voice vote to stop all funding for the program until the Pentagon can prove to Congress the program does not violate privacy rights. The amendment to the budget bill then went to the joint conference committee to thrash out differences between the two bodies’ budget proposals. The Pentagon sought to appease Congress last week by announcing it will establish two oversight boards to monitor the program. According to a Pentagon statement, the two boards, one internal and one external advisory committee, will oversee TIA in order to make sure the program is developed in in accordance with “U.S. constitutional law, U.S. statutory law and American values related to privacy.” Full Story

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