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Security official details screening process for air travelers

November 20, 2003 Personal data about airline travelers to be collected for a system designed to identify terrorists will not be accessible either to the government or the database companies verifying passenger identities, a top official developing the system said on Thursday. The data assembled for the Homeland Security Department's Computer Assisted Passenger ...

Defense officials lament lost data-mining opportunities

November 20, 2003 Congress' decision to terminate funding for the Defense Department's Terrorist Information Awareness (TIA) program has cast a pall over other, potentially useful data-mining applications, Defense officials told their Technology and Privacy Advisory Committee (TAPAC) on Thursday. One halted program involves attempts to identify suicide bombers attacking U.S. interests overseas. Deputy ...

Witnesses haggle over anti-terrorism law provisions

November 18, 2003 Former Justice Department officials and civil libertarians argued over the merits of a major anti-terrorism law on Tuesday, with the measure's supporters lauding its help with expediting anti-terrorism investigations and its critics saying it imposes undue privacy burdens. In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, five nonprofit groups derided either ...

TSA not collecting passenger data for screening system

November 17, 2003 No airlines currently provide passenger data for an oft-criticized passenger-screening system, the chief privacy officer of the Homeland Security Department said on Monday. "At this time, there is no current testing, and there are no airlines currently working with the TSA [Transportation Security Administration]" to provide data for the Computer-Assisted ...

Senators see momentum to limit anti-terrorism powers

October 21, 2003 Momentum is building in the Senate for revisions to a law enacted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that enhanced the government's surveillance powers, supporters and critics of the law said on Tuesday during an oversight hearing. Three Democrats and one Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee said they ...

Legislators launch fight to take Patent Office off-budget

October 16, 2003 The Congressional Intellectual Property Caucus on Thursday endorsed a proposal to strip House appropriators' power to set the Patent and Trademark Office budget, vowing to make "a lot of noise" against the practice of diverting fees for patent applications to other federal programs. Caucus co-founder Robert Wexler, R-Fla., said the ...

House lawmakers seek to curtail anti-terrorism law

September 24, 2003 Several high-profile surveillance provisions in the anti-terrorism law known as the USA PATRIOT Act would be modified under a bill that Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and Texas Republican Ron Paul pledged to introduce on Wednesday. The bill would limit the Justice Department's power to use "sneak and ...

Privacy advocates turn tide in homeland security debate

September 19, 2003 Ever since the 2001 terrorist attacks, policymakers have pursued a balance between two oft-competing desires: keeping the nation secure and protecting people's privacy rights. The status of two technology-based security initiatives indicates that the scales still can tip either way. On one hand, a controversial Pentagon project to create technologies ...

Homeland research agency seeks to clarify mission

September 19, 2003 Anthony Tether, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, has finally gotten his wish. Long before the current flap over DARPA's Terrorist Information Awareness program, Tether said in an interview with National Journal that he wanted to see the agency return to its glory days in the 1970s and ...

Government unveils computer emergency response team

September 15, 2003 The Homeland Security Department on Monday announced the creation of a U.S. Computer Emergency Response Team that is designed to become the country's premier "CERT," superseding the private-sector center long run by Carnegie Mellon University. Homeland Security officials said the CERT would "begin as a partnership" between the National Cyber ...