- Joined Jul 22, 2003
The Information Awareness Office (IAO) was established by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in January 2002 to bring together several DARPA projects focused on applying surveillance and information technology to track and monitor terrorists and other asymmetric threats to U.S. national security, by achieving Total Information Awareness (TIA).
This would be achieved by creating enormous computer databases to gather and store the personal information of everyone in the United States, including personal e-mails, social networks, credit card records, phone calls, medical records, and numerous other sources, without any requirement for a search warrant. This information would then be analyzed to look for suspicious activities, connections between individuals, and "threats". Additionally, the program included funding for biometric surveillance technologies that could identify and track individuals using surveillance cameras, and other methods.
Following public criticism that the development and deployment of this technology could potentially lead to a mass surveillance system, the IAO was defunded by Congress in 2003. However, several IAO projects continued to be funded, and merely run under different names.