Thursday, October 07, 2004

U.S. Senate Wants Database Dragnet

From Wired News:
"The Senate could pass a bill as early as Wednesday evening that would let government counter-terrorist investigators instantly query a massive system of interconnected commercial and government databases that hold billions of records on Americans.
The proposed network is based on the Markle Foundation Task Force's December 2003 report, which envisioned a system that would allow FBI and CIA agents, as well as police officers and some companies, to quickly search intelligence, criminal and commercial databases. The proposal is so radical, the bill allocates $50 million just to fund the system's specifications and privacy policies.
The Senate will likely have its final vote on the bill, sponsored by Joseph Lieberman (D-Connecticut) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), Wednesday night. The draft of the bill was based on recommendations of the so-called 9/11 Commission, which investigated the United States' lapse in intelligence and security procedures prior to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks."

It will be very interesting to see whether this bill (the National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004) will be passed or amended before it comes to the final vote!

On another note, I have safely arrived in Berlin and am connected to the 'net again. I much look forward to my period of research here -- although even before me some work arrived that menacingly awaited me in my new office :-(

Update from Secondary Screening:

"On Wednesday, the Senate passed it's version of the 9/11 recommendations by a vote of 96-2.
The bill is big, not just in size, but in the changes it will make to the country's intelligence service, information sharing and civil liberties/privacy atmosphere."

The House version will be voted on later this week -- then reconciliation of the Senate and House versions will take place in the conference stage. Watch this space!

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