Saturday, October 30, 2004

The New York Review of Books: Uncle Sam Is Watching You

The New York Review of Books: Uncle Sam Is Watching You: "Admittedly, much of the credit for TIA's defeat has to go to the Pentagon's public relations department, which not only gave the program its less than reassuring name, but also came up with a logo consisting of a pyramid topped by a large, digitized eye and the Latin motto Scientia Est Potentia, or 'Knowledge Is Power.' George Orwell and Michel Foucault could hardly have done better. It also helped that the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which developed the plan, was headed by John Poindexter, who had been convicted of lying to Congress in the Iran-contra affair, and whose conviction had been overturned on appeal only on a technicality. The vote to kill TIA came shortly after DARPA floated the idea of creating a market for betting on terrorist attacks and other disasters. Still, the fact that Congress rejected TIA seemed to suggest that it was willing to stand up for privacy even in the face of the threat of catastrophic terrorism."
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