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06/08/2004 Archived Entry: "More on TIA"

WHY THE CONTINUING SILENCE ON TIA? I haven't seen a single other news source (yet) pick up on Capitol Hill Blue's news that the Pentagon's Total Information Awareness system is alive and currently tracking every American who ever uses a bank, credit card, or telephone. I began to think maybe the story really was from The Onion.

Keep in mind that this is all unconfirmed. What CHB describes is exactly how we know the fedgov does operate -- but who can be sure yet if it's the way the fedgov is operating, when it comes to TIA? Still ... today CHB follows up with another story that begins by telling how our phone conversations are recorded and analysed for "terrorist" language. The article ends on one bright, but feeble, note of hope: news that a handful of contractors have refused to work on TIA because they consider it so utterly unethical.

Unethical is right. But that's only part of the problem. Totalitarian is a more complete descriptor.

Aaron Zelman and I wrote a couple of years ago to say that, based on historical evidence, the U.S. was becoming -- but was not yet -- a police state. This is still true in a way. We have some freedoms that the police states of the past haven't allowed their citizens. But TIA, operating on a desire to surveill all the people all of the time, bypasses mere "police state" and -- in that one aspect of our lives -- leaps straight into an exalted status: If CHB's stories are true, TIA is the single largest totalitarian act ever committed by any government on earth.

That we know of. So far.

Posted by Claire @ 09:01 AM CST

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