Homeland Security: Will That Be a Credit or Debit Card?

Nov 18, 2002

By George Anderson

The Defense Department, FBI and Transportation Security Administration are working on data capture and analysis systems that will allow them to review consumer transactions and other information to ferret out the terrorists within our midst.

The most extensive of the three is the Defense Department’s Total Information Awareness program. The $200 million a year intelligence gathering effort is being led by vice admiral John Poindexter, former national security adviser to President Reagan.

William Saffire, columnist, New York Times calls the Total Information Awareness program a “supersnoop’s dream”.

The St. Petersburg Press quotes Jim Dempsey, deputy director, The Center for Democracy and Technology, as saying “We will be no more secure, with resources wasted and we’ll be less free. Asserting that (data mining) is going to be useful doesn’t necessarily make it so. The efficacy hasn’t been close to demonstrated.”

Moderator’s Comment: Two Questions–

  1. What is your personal reaction to the Total Information
    Awareness program?

  2. How should the retail industry respond?

We thought terrorists always used cash or stolen credit
cards. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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