Government Pattern Analysis:
Securing Terrorists While Preserving Privacy?
March 20, 2003
On March 20, 2003 an Internet Caucus Advisory Committee panel debated "Government Pattern Analysis: Securing Terrorists While Preserving Privacy?"
The moderator, Peter Swire welcomed attendees -- the vast majority of which were Congressional staff and press. Mr. Swire, professor of Law at Ohio State University and former Clinton Administration Chief Counselor for Privacy, in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget also introduced the expert panel and gave an excellent overview and background of this complex issue of government pattern analysis.
Key acronyms in the pattern analysis debate:
- CAPPS II - Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System
- DARPA - Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
- TIA - Total Information Awareness project
- TSA - Transportation Security Administration
- TTIC - Terrorist Threat Intelligence Center
The esteemed panelists, Paul Rosenzweig (The Heritage Foundation), Jim Dempsey, Orin Kerr (George Washington University Law School) and Lance Hoffman (George Washington University) all came from very different perspectives yet during the debate came to some unexpected consensus on their assessment for the development of the Pentagon's Total Information Awareness project.
The group agreed that research on data-mining technologies should not be barred yet action should be taken by Congress to ensure safeguards are in place to protect the privacy of the information that may be used.
Mr. Dempsey expressed some doubt about the ability for any data-mining technology to determine [from someone's otherwise legal purchases and transactions] motive explaining, "It is hard to draw conclusions for future illegal behavior." To this point, Mr. Rosenzweig responded that additional research should continue.
Though the panelists debated the exact path and outcome for government pattern analysis, they did concur on the need for strict Congressional oversight that should develop as the technology develops.
The above views are those of the panelists -- not the Internet Caucus or the Advisory Committee. The Internet Caucus Advisory Committee holds these balanced panels as educational debates to better educate Congressional Members and staff about the current Internet debates in the 108th Congress.
For more detail regarding the event please view the complete video.