L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 200, November 25, 2002
Knowledge Is Power
Special to TLE
A new military office, the Total Information Awareness (TIAO), is currently working towards eliminating personal privacy in our lifetimes.
Many have focused on the foreboding logo of the TIAO, which features an eye on top of a pyramid watching the world, and whether John Poindexter, famous for lying to Congress during the Iran/Contra investigations and conducting secret operations, should be in charge of this new operation. I am more concerned with the stated objectives of this operation than with who runs it or what pictures they use to identify themselves.
The programs this office is currently undertaking include:
Bio-surveillance - they are developing systems to spy on the internal operations of your body, most likely through already existing technology which can be implanted under the skin coupled with a massive computer network to process the information. NASA previously revealed their intention to develop technology to "read" brainwaves. It is still unclear whether NASA's program will be consumed by the TIAO or whether many governmental agencies will independently seek to be the leader in bio-spying.
Human Identification at a Distance (HumanID) - they are developing automated biometric identification technologies to detect, recognize and identify humans at great distances using various biometric signatures
Wargaming the Asymmetric Environment (WAE) - they are constructing numerous informational and behavioral models which will help predict future terrorists "based upon their behavior in the broader context of their political, cultural and ideological environment."
Of course, those in charge of this endeavor to deconstruct all human activity to a set of digitally encoded zeros and ones are offering idle promises that "privacy concerns" will be considered as they move forward.
As if the program weren't Orwellian enough, they had to introduce doublethink.
The English translation of the Latin inscription on the TIAO logo is "Knowledge is Power." The title of the office is Total Information Awareness. They are going to collect, analyze, and catalog any seemingly insignificant bit of data on you they can find because it may, when considered with various other seemingly innocent pieces of data, finger you as a potential terrorist. The goal of the program is to achieve total awareness of everything everyone does, says, or thinks.
Total knowledge is total power is total control.
Privacy is defined as the freedom from the intrusion of others in one's life or affairs. How can the military protect individual privacy while they work to eliminate it?
Answer: they can't, they won't, and they don't intend to. But, pro- government extremists have been successful thus far at curtailing liberty merely by offering empty assurances, full of amorphous terms and phrases, that they intend to protect what they just promised to destroy. With a game plan that allowed a secret court to authorize secret searches, why change now. You can't argue with success. Or as W. would say "Dance with the one what brung ya".
Imagine the sickness that must pervade the psyche of a group of people that seek total control over all of humanity and then brazenly announce their intentions, though somewhat cryptically, and create a symbol for their organization which could only be designed to threaten and terrify a controlled populous and deter resistance to its formation by a population which as of yet is not completely enslaved.
If the TIAO is successful there will, by definition, be a military takeover of matters previously reserved to civilian governments and a total end to privacy.