Senate Judiciary Poised To Pass Total Information Awareness Bill
Amid public outcry, in 2003, Congress defunded the Bush Administration's Total Information Awareness (TIA) project, a massive Orwellian technology-driven surveillance and data mining initiative. Now, it is attempting to pass through the FISA Amendments Act of 2007 (S. 2248), a bill that would effectively give legal standing and retroactive legal immunity to a major component of this project.
According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a civil liberties organization based in San Francisco that has filed a class action suit against AT&T, the company had installed a fiber-optic splitter at its San Francisco office that copies all e-mails and other Internet traffic passing through the system and deposits these copies into a separate government computer network. The EFF alleges that the secret NSA rooms, to which the copies are sent, contain "powerful computer equipment connected to separate networks. This equipment is designed to analyze communications at high speed, and can be programmed to review and select out the contents and traffic patterns of communications according to user-defined rules" (emphasis added).