Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The myriad government surveillance databases

Keeping track of the number of spy programs administered by federal law enforcement and the executive branch can get confusing. But with the curtailment of TALON database on antiwar activists and the suspension of the ADVISE system (which sifted through private personally identifiable information without regard to federal privacy regulation), is the Pentagon shifting its priorities? Don't count on it:

The ACLU contends that the Pentagon's stated reason for the program's closure is irrelevant. "People are cautiously optimistic [that] the tide is turning," says Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU's National Security Project. "But you have to see that TALON program in the context of the many other surveillance programs that have been introduced over the last five years. We're in a bizarre situation where, for the first time, the government is demanding more and more information about individuals and at the same time making it more difficult for them to get the information that they need in order to evaluate the government and whether it's acting within the law."

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