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CONTACT: Office of Senator Leahy, 202-224-4242


Comments Of Sen. Patrick Leahy
(D-Vt., Ranking Democratic Member, Senate Judiciary Committee)
On The TIA Data Mining Program
Report To Congress
Released Tuesday By The Pentagon
May 20, 2003

"Renaming this may make it sound less Orwellian, but it does not change the intent and scope of this $53 million program.  All the hype associated with TIA cannot disguise the fact that - as the report acknowledges - it is far from clear whether the technology will work as intended.  Before we start pulling people off airplanes and denying them jobs based on large-scale data mining, we need to know whether this technology will generate too few solid investigative leads at the cost of too many false alarms and ruined reputations.

"The Defense Department's expressed commitment to privacy and civil liberties and its promise to conduct internal oversight of the TIA program are welcome.  But this is an administration that has resisted answering even basic questions about programs like this that tread on the privacy rights and civil liberties of the American people.  Self-policing is no substitute for continued congressional oversight of this novel and controversial technology.  Government data mining largely falls through the cracks of existing federal privacy laws.  The development of new data mining technologies will require the careful crafting of new charters for their use - before they are deployed, not afterward."

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