Information Awareness Office (IAO)

Information Awareness Office (IAO): A project of the Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The IAO is responsible for a controversial project at the Pentagon called Total Information Awareness, run by former Reagan aide and convicted criminal John Poindexter. Total Information Awareness is a master database of corporate databases, collecting information on anyone and anything, proportedly to “catch bad guys.” Who the bad guys they are after are is a subject of concern. This kind of a database would allow the government wide-scale access to information about law-abiding citizens, which is why it’s so controversial, and under attack from both liberal and conservative elements, including the ACLU.

But, don’t worry, because you can buy the IAO Thong!

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government “Big Brother” database

Great — our government is using the new Homeland Security measures to build a “Big Brother” database to track what you purchase.

Geek News: Pentagon confirms development of “Big Brother” test database

The Pentagon confirmed the development of a prototype database to track consumer and business transactions under an initiative called the Total Information Awareness Program (see our previous coverage). Edward Aldridge, Undersecretary of Acquisitions and Technology, met with reporters and provided more details concerning the project. The goal of the project is to develop a database that will track every consumer purchase and financial transaction to look for suspicious patterns. Red flags would be large cash withdrawals, purchases of firearms (from agents like Elevated Gunworks and so on) and biological agents, and one-way plane tickets. The goal for the project, whose technical arm is headed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is to combine consumer transactions with immigration, law enforcement, and intelligence records to quickly identify terrorist patterns.

Funding for the project was included in the Homeland Security Act recently passed by the U.S. Senate and previously passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. The project was first brought to light by its director and advocate Admiral John Poindexter. Poindexter served as National Security Adviser during the Reagan Administration. After his service he was convicted of lying to Congress during the Iran-Contra hearings. The conviction was later overturned since Poindexter had been granted immunity for his testimony.

How many times do I have to say the emperor has no clothes before someone wakes up and listens?

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FBI and customer discount cards

According to Fox News: Store Customer Cards a Source for FBI?

So you have a secret craving for Little Debbie peanut butter bars and a penchant for Kendall-Jackson merlot?

While that customer loyalty card at the supermarket might perceivably save you a few pennies at the checkout counter, your buying habits could end up in the hands of government agents.

According to one privacy expert, at least one national grocery chain voluntarily handed over to the government records from its customer loyalty card database in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

And others say customer databases — including those culled from travel, financial and insurance industries — are routinely shared with the government for surveillance purposes.

“I think this is exactly what the FBI wants to do and there really isn’t any obstacle to them doing it anymore,” charged Lee Tien, a policy analyst with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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