|Poindexter Writes About Uses of
Information Technology to Fight Terrorism
8/12. John Poindexter, who recently announced plans to resign as head of the
Department of Defense's (DOD) Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency's (DARPA)
Information Awareness Office (IAO),
wrote a public
[5 pages in PDF] addressed to Anthony
Tether, Director of the DARPA, in which he explained and advocated the
activities of his office.
He wrote that "Some of the research and development programs that we have
been working on have become controversial and I want to take this opportunity in
an open letter to you to put these controversies in perspective." He added that
"there is still a great deal of misunderstanding".
One point that he made is that "DARPA is a tool builder and not a tool user.
Technology solutions are developed and shown to work. It is then up to user
agencies and Congress through the normal authorization and appropriations
process to decide whether the technology solutions will be implemented and under
what conditions." He concluded that "I regret we have not been able to make our
case clear and reassure the public that we do not intend to spy on them."
He elaborated that "More than half of the
foreign intelligence activities are in the Department of Defense and report to
both the Secretary of Defense for resources and Director of Central Intelligence
for tasking. The DOD clearly has a significant foreign intelligence role and it
is appropriate that DARPA be involved in looking for technology solutions. DARPA
is in a position to take a fresh look at the problem with no vested bureaucratic
interests in coming up with an integrated solution. The technology and tools to
be developed for the foreign part would be just as applicable to the domestic
part; however if and when it comes to implementation the foreign intelligence
activities of the DOD, CIA and others would apply the tools against foreign
intelligence data and domestic intelligence activities, such as the FBI, would
apply them against domestic intelligence in accordance with the laws and
polices. In no case would DARPA be applying the tools. There are extensive
Congressional oversight provisions for the foreign and domestic intelligence
activities to detect any potential abuses."
He went on to discuss the IAO's project named Terrorism Information Awareness
(TIA), which was previously named Total Information Awareness, and its project
named Futures Markets Applied to Prediction (FutureMap),
which would have established a futures market in
which traders could trade in contracts to predict the likelihood of various
possible terrorist attacks. He recently abandoned the later project. The fate of
the former project lies in the defense appropriations process; the Congress has
yet to pass is final version of the 2004 bill.
The House passed its version of the bill on July 8. The Senate then passed its
version on July 17, with numerous amendments. In particular, the Senate version
includes a Section 8120 that provides that "Notwithstanding any other
provision of law, no funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the
Department of Defense, whether to an element of the Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency or any other element, or to any other department, agency, or
element of the Federal Government, may be obligated or expended on research and
development on the Terrorism Information Awareness program." It further provides
that the federal government may not deploy or implement the TIA program until
the government notifies the Congress of its development, and the government has
received authorization from the Congress.
He first reviewed the context of each project. He wrote that "we have had basically
two research paths -- each in the context of a premise. The first premise is that the U.S.
government has all of the data it needs to find information that would allow us to detect foreign
terrorists and their plans and thus enable the prevention of attacks against U.S. interests. The problems
here are a matter of sharing this information amongst the various agencies involved and providing
better ways of finding information more rapidly, tools to aid in conducting faster and
better analyses and decision support tools to enable better decisions. The massive amounts of
data that are presently available under existing laws and policies far exceed the capacity of the
humans in the system to analyze these data without tools to aid them."
He elaborated that "On this first research path we created an experimental
network called TIA and partnered
with nine foreign intelligence, counter-intelligence and military commands for
testing experimental tools using foreign intelligence data that is currently available
He then discussed the second line of research, and the IAO's
FutureMap project, in theoretical terms. He wrote that "If we are wrong on the
first premise and the U.S. government does not have all of the data it needs to
find the terrorists and prevent their attacks, we felt it prudent to explore a
second research path. This is the controversial one. In terms of the recent flap
over FutureMap -- did we want to bet the safety of thousands if not millions of
Americans that our first premise was correct? Since we didn’t want to make that
bet, we devoted a relatively small portion of the funds that had been made
available to us to this second research path. There is another community of
people who believe that all the data necessary to effectively counter the
terrorism threat is not entirely in government databases. Instead, there may be
more information in the greater information space that might prove valuable for
the government to exploit in its counterterrorism operations, but currently this
data is not used due to legal or policy restrictions. This research path is
testing the hypothesis that when terrorist organizations engage in adverse
actions against the United States, they make transactions in support of their
plans and activities, and those transactions leave a signature in the
information space. Those transactions will likely span government,
private, and public databases."
He added that "The challenges for the supporting TIA programs in
this second research path are twofold: First, is the signature detectable when
embedded within a world of information noise? Second, in what part of the
information space does that signature manifest itself? Ultimately, our goal
within this thread is to understand the level of improvement possible in our
counterterrorism capabilities if the government were able to access a greater
portion of the information space, while at the same time considering the impact
-- if any -- on information policies like the right to privacy, and then
mitigate this impact with privacy protection technology. If our research does
show an improvement in the government’s ability to predict and preempt
terrorism, then it would be up to the policymakers, Congress, and the public at
large -- not DARPA -- to decide whether to change law and policy to permit
access to such data."
He concluded that "We have made significant progress with the
TIA experimental network under the first premise that the government today has
access to all the information it needs. The user agencies and commands are
finding the tools and concepts valuable. There is a long way to go yet, but
progress has been made. The work under the second premise is very much still in
the research phase and obviously still controversial. I regret we have not been
able to make our case clear and reassure the public that we do not intend to spy
Finally, he commented on the ongoing appropriations process. He wrote that
"The Senate version of the Defense Appropriations Bill going into
conference with the House on September 2 eliminates funding for most of the
counter-terrorism programs of my office -- both the non-controversial as well as
the controversial. I hope a compromise can be reached that will permit a
continuation of at least the non-controversial parts."
The letter also states that his resignation is effective August 29, 2003.
8/4. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (5thCir) revised its July 16
[28 pages in PDF] in Bell Atlantic v.
AT&T. This opinion pertains to an interlocutory appeal by two plaintiffs,
Rochelle Communications and Adroit Medical Systems, of the District Court's
denial of class certification. The underlying case alleges that AT&T violated
federal antitrust laws by refusing to permit the passage of caller
identification data across its long distance telephone network. The Court of
Appeals affirmed the District Court's denial of class certification, pursuant to
Rule 23(b), because Rochelle and Adroit fail to satisfy the predominance requirement.
The Court has not yet decided whether AT&T's conduct amounted to an attempt to
monopolize the market for caller ID service. This is Bell Atlantic Corporation,
et al. v. AT&T, et al., No. 02-40656, an appeal from the U.S. District
Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
8/12. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (DCCir) issued its
opinion [19 pages in PDF] in Information Handling Services v. Defense
Automated Printing Services. Information Handling Services (IHS) is a
commercial publisher of
government and industrial standards and specifications. Defense Automated
Printing Services (DAPS) is the component of the Department of Defense (DOD)
that is responsible for managing, maintaining, and distributing documents
relating to unclassified military specifications and standards. IHS filed a
complaint in the U.S. District Court
(DC) in 1998 against DAPS alleging
violation of the Administrative Procedure Act and the DOD's procurement
regulations by developing and maintaining an internet accessible database for
the dissemination of government documents without first determining whether the
private sector could do so at lower cost. The District Court dismissed for lack
of standing, and in the alternative, granted summary judgment. The Appeals Court
reversed and remanded. This is Information Handling Services, Inc. v. Defense
Automated Printing Services, et al., No. 02-5192, an appeal from the U.S.
District Court for the District of Columbia, D.C. No. 98cv02796.
8/11. Thomas S. Hughes plead guilty in
District Court (CDCal) to securities fraud. He is the former CEO
of eConnect. The U.S. Attorneys Office (USAO) stated in a
release that he
orchestrated "a scheme to distribute false information designed to boost the
stock price of the publicly traded company".
|FCC Releases Report and Order Re Hearing Aid
Compatible Digital Phones
8/14. The Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) released its
Report and Order [57 pages in PDF]
in its proceeding titled "In the Matter of Section 68.4(a) of
the Commission's Rules Governing Hearing Aid-Compatible Telephones". This is WT
Docket No. 01-309. The FCC adopted this Report and Order at its July 10, 2003, but only issued a
press release at that time.
The Report and Order states that "we
modify the exemption for wireless phones under the Hearing Aid Compatibility Act
of 1988 (HAC Act) to require that digital wireless phones be
capable of being effectively used with hearing aids. We find that modifying the
exemption in the manner described below will extend the benefits of wireless
telecommunications to individuals with hearing disabilities -- including
emergency, business, and social communications ..."
It continues that "we find that digital wireless phone
manufacturers and service providers should be required to take steps to reduce
the amount of interference emitted from digital wireless phones and to provide
the internal capability for telecoil coupling."
FCC Commissioner Michael
Copps wrote in a
statement [PDF] that "With this action our Commission adds to a list of
actions the past Commission took to promote accessibility. The previous
Commission wrote new rules to ensure that communications products and services
are accessible to those with disabilities, as Congress directed, in Section 255;
overhauled and updated our Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) rules to
provide for faster, more effective relay services; established 711 for relay
services so that consumers will no longer need to remember different TRS numbers
and TRS users will be able to put one number on their business cards, thereby
making it easier for people to call them; and took action on captioning to
ensure that everyone has access to televised information, including, most
importantly, warnings about emergency situations."
|Cyber Security Division Issues Advisory Re
8/14. The Department of Homeland Security's
(DHS) Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate's (IAIP)
National Cyber Security Division (NCSD) issued an
regarding the potential for internet disruptions beginning on Saturday, August 16, 2003.
The advisory states that "An Internet worm dubbed ``msblast´´, ``lovesan´´,
began spreading on August 11th that takes advantage of a recently announced
vulnerability in computers running some versions of the Microsoft Windows
operating system. ... NCSD would like to highlight that this worm contains
additional code which may cause infected computers to attempt repetitive
connections to a popular Microsoft web site,
www.windowsupdate.com beginning just after midnight on the morning of August
It continues that "Because of the significant percentage of infected
computers using high speed connections to the Internet (DSL or cable for
example) the conditions exist for a phenomena known as a distributed denial of
service (DDoS) attack against the Microsoft web site beginning on August 16th.
... Owners of computers infected by the worm may experience a general slowness
of their computer along with difficulty in connecting to Internet sites or local
network resources. Systems that are still infected on August 16th may stop
spreading the worm and may begin flooding the Microsoft Update site with
repeated connection requests. Other customers who attempt to use the site to
update their Microsoft Windows operating systems on or after August 16th might
experience slowness in response or inability to connect to the update site."
|Defendant Pleads Guilty to Aiding and
Abetting the Publication of a Conference Call
8/12. Gary Russell Thomson plead guilty in
U.S. District Court (EDVa) to one
misdemeanor charge of aiding and abetting the unauthorized publication of a
wire communication. The District Court sentenced him to two years of
supervised probation and a $2000 fine. See,
release [PDF] of the U.S. Attorneys Office (EDVa) and substantially
release of the Department of Justice's (DOJ)
Computer Crimes and
Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS).
Edmund Matricardi, a former Executive Director of the
Republican Party of Virginia (RPV), obtained
the call in number and access code for a Democratic Party conference call,
used his phone at the RPV to listen in without disclosing his presence, and then
disclosed the contents of the conference calls to others. The Democratic Party
sent out an e-mail and a fax notice of the conference calls, but invited only
members of the Joint Democratic Caucus.
Gary Thomson was the Chairman of the RPV. Matricardi was his subordinate. The
USAO stated in its release that Thomson "aided and abetted" Matricardi in
disclosing the contents of the call to a third party.
See also, story titled "Grand Jury Returns Wire Act Indictment
for Listening in on Conference Calls" in
TLJ Daily E-Mail
Alert No. 591, January 27, 2003.
|Monday, August 18
10:15 AM - 12:00 NOON. The American Enterprise
Institute (AEI) will host a panel discussion titled "Trade
in Services: Is More Liberalization Possible in
the Doha Round?". The speakers will be Stephen Canner (U.S. Council for
International Business), James Mendenhall (Office of the U.S. Trade Representative), and
Robert Vastine (U.S. Coalition of Services Industries). See,
Location: AEI, 12th Floor, 1150 17th Street, NW.
Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Notice of Inquiry (NOI)
pertaining to the possibility of incorporating receiver performance specifications
into the FCC's spectrum policy. This NOI follows the recommendations of the FCC's
Spectrum Policy Task Force (SPTF)
report [PDF] of November 15, 2002. See,
"FCC Announces NOI Re Receiver Performance Standards" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert
No. 624, March 17, 2003. See also,
notice in the Federal Register, May 5, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 86, at Pages 23677 -
23686. This is ET Docket No. 03-65, FCC 03-54. For more information, contact
Hugh Van Tuyl at the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) at 202 418-7506 or
|Tuesday, August 19
Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its notice of proposed
rulemaking, released on April 30, 2003, regarding changes to its rules
implementing the FCCs policy to carry forward unused funds from the schools
and libraries universal support mechanism (aka e-rate subsidies) in subsequent
funding years. See,
notice in the Federal Register, June 20, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 119, at Pages
36961 - 36967.
|Wednesday, August 20
12:00 NOON. Gordon England, Deputy Secretary of the
Department of Homeland Security (DHS), will
give a speech titled "Leading the Department of Homeland Security: Progress
and Challenges of Transition during the War on Terrorism". See,
Location: Lehrman Auditorium: Heritage
Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Ave NE.
|Friday, August 22
Deadline to submit comments to the
Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Bureau of Customs and Border
Protection (CBP) regarding its proposed rule to require that CBP must receive,
by electronic data interchange system, information pertaining to cargo before
the cargo is either brought into or sent from the U.S. by any mode of
commercial transportation. See,
notice in the Federal Register, July 23, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 141, at Pages
43573 - 43606.
|Monday, August 25
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM. The Commerce Department's National Medal of Technology
Nomination Evaluation Committee will hold a closed meeting to discuss the
relative merits of persons and companies nominated for the medal. See,
notice in the Federal Register, July 24, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 142, at Page
43716. Location: Room 4813, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution
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