Senators Inouye and Feinstein Announce Plans
to Introduce Legislation to Require Congressional Authorization
for Total Information Awareness Program

- Program could lead to 'Orwellian America' -
November 26, 2002

Washington, DC - U.S. Senators Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced plans to introduce legislation early next year to prevent the Department of Defense from funding the Total Information Awareness (TIA) program until Congress has specifically authorized it.

The Total Information Awareness program is being developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and could be used to gather vast amounts of personal information from U.S. citizens.

"If the Total Information Awareness program is not developed in a carefully prescribed manner, with close oversight from Congress, it could lead to an Orwellian America, where a person's every move is tracked by the Government," Senator Feinstein said. "I find this deeply disturbing."

"That is why Senator Inouye and I are developing legislation that would prohibit the Defense Department from spending any funds on this project until there is specific Congressional approval," Senator Feinstein said.

The goal of the Total Information Awareness program is to create a tool to search vast quantities of data in thousands of government and commercial databases worldwide to determine links and patterns that indicate terrorist activities. The three parts of TIA would:

"As a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, I was surprised to learn that funding was provided for TIA, given that there were no hearings, no consultation, and no explanation of this project," Senator Feinstein said. "In my view, Congress needs to consider the full implications of the project on privacy and civil liberties now -- before the genie is out of the bottle."

In addition to developing legislation, Senator Feinstein also plans to request hearings on the project from Senators Orrin Hatch and Patrick Leahy -- the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

According the Congressional Research Service, more than $200 million was appropriated over the last three fiscal years for the Total Information Awareness project, despite the fact that Congress has not specifically authorized the project.