Some TIA-related work goes on, but not privacy work?
The Boston Globe has a piece on the apparent disposition of some TIA-related (DARPA .pdf) work in the wake of Congress’ move last year to eliminate DARPA funding for the controversial program. The program, an attempt to “design a prototype network that integrates innovative information technologies for detecting and preempting foreign terrorist activities against Americans,” came under fire from a number of groups, including CRA, who saw the eventual deployment of such a system as a serious threat to American civil liberties and security. (However, CRA also argued, in a letter to the House and Senate negotiators, that while a prohibition on deploying the technology might be appropriate, prohibiting research into these areas would not be in the national interest.)
Though Congress cut funding at DARPA for TIA-related research at DARPA and eliminated the office at the agency that housed the project, language in the FY 2004 Defense Appropriations bill did allow related research to continue at unspecified intelligence agencies. The article notes that this work is apparently going forward, though parallel work DARPA had undertaken to insure there were privacy protections in any TIA-related system is apparently not.
It’s difficult to know with any certainty whether privacy-related research is actually being funded by any of the intelligence agencies (though it’s clear from the article that work that had been funded by DARPA in the area has not been continued). This lack of transparency is an unfortunate consequence of the research moratorium imposed by Congress, and one of the reasons CRA opposed it….