This is pretty mainstream since it broke a year ago onto the rags... Here is an article from 9-12-06"Firstcoastnews.com Article
Air Force Secretary: Nonlethal Weapons Touted For Use on U.S. Citizens
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Air Force secretary says nonlethal weapons such as high-power microwave devices should be used on American citizens in crowd-control situations before they are used on the battlefield.
Secretary Michael Wynne says domestic use would make it easier to avoid questions in the international community over any possible safety concerns.
The Air Force has funded research into nonlethal weapons, but Wynne said the service isn't likely to spend more money on development until injury issues are reviewed by medical experts and resolved.
Nonlethal weapons generally can weaken people if they are hit with the beam.
Some of the weapons can emit short, intense energy pulses that also can be effective in disabling some electronic devices.
Wynne says an injury to someone in an unintended way from the use of such weapons would lead to severe international criticism.
But that wasn't the first time the subject was broached... the whole idea was pooh-poohed 4 years earlier... though the ground work for the abuses had been laid by the time the following article was published in November of 2002."Kansas City Star November 24, 2002
Big Brother? Or weapon against terror?
BY RICK MONTGOMERY
To track terror, the Pentagon is seeking Total Information Awareness.
Swipe your credit card, and the government may know.
Buy medicine, and a federal database fattens. Earn a B in chemistry, and it is stored somewhere, ready to be accessed by authorities. Taking flight lessons? A global supercomputer may have you bookmarked. It is just a vision for now. Nonetheless, the awarding of research contracts and the stepped-up marketing of Total Information Awareness have critics of various political shades serving up their own phrase: "Big Brother."
At the helm of the Pentagon's recently created Information Awareness Office is John Poindexter, the former national security adviser convicted in 1990 for his role in the Iran-Contra scheme.
His office logo is a pyramid with a human eye on top, casting a glowing gaze upon Earth. "Knowledge is Power" is the motto.
"Absurd!" said John Pike, director of the military and space-policy research group GlobalSecurity.org. "The Defense Department has no business knowing what cereal I eat or who's out there buying pita bread."
Others argue it is the nation's business, however, to spot a potential terrorist's so-called signature - that is, how such a person might move about, purchase materials, obtain books and use the Internet.
The key to learning that is to "put all these databases together - commercial records and public records," said Edward Badolato, a Reagan administration official who now heads Contingency Management Services, a Washington-based security provider.
"Law enforcement already does this in bits and pieces," he said. "But you need to do it under one tent and take it to a completely higher level of sophistication."
Or, in Poindexter's words, analysts must mine "transaction space" to "find the terrorists in a world of noise, understand what they are planning and develop options for preventing their attacks."
The Pentagon's five-year goal faces many hurdles - legal, ethical, technological and political. Experts say Congress would have to amend the 1974 Privacy Act, for example. The act regulates disclosure of personal information by federal agencies and allows citizens access to that information.
Critics of the research project span the ideological map - from conservative columnist William Safire ("a plan even more scandalous than Iran-Contra") to the American Civil Liberties Union ("Pull the plug on this dangerous idea").
Most troubling to some is the prospect of one government overseeing so much data on the lives of so many people, most of them innocent.
"When a government accumulates detailed information on its citizenry, ultimately that power is going to be abused," said Charlotte Twight, an economics professor at Boise State University in Idaho who researches privacy issues. "We weren't supposed to have this all-powerful central government."
Smoothing the course
Authorities already have means to find and examine bank transactions, travel accounts and other private records of suspected terrorists.
Getting those documents usually requires court permission, however, not to mention the help of diplomats and intelligence agencies outside the United States.
The Information Awareness Office seeks to smooth the course. It opened earlier this year within the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon's futuristic idea factory that helped develop the Internet.
Some were startled to see Poindexter resurface at the Pentagon post. A jury convicted him on five counts of deceiving Congress in the Iran-Contra scandal, although an appeals court later set aside the conviction because immunized congressional testimony had been used against him.
After President Bush appointed Poindexter, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer described the retired Navy admiral as "somebody who this administration thinks is an outstanding American, an outstanding citizen, who has done a very good job in what he has done for our country."
In summer speeches to high-tech trade conferences, Poindexter and his deputy director, Robert Popp, began giving form to visions of a massive electronic dragnet.
"Our view is that if terrorist organizations are going to engage in adverse actions against the United States, it's going to involve people, and those people make transactions," Popp said at a Philadelphia gathering covered by Government Executive magazine.
"And those transactions leave a signature in the information space."
The Web pages of the Information Awareness Office could have been ripped from the pages of science fiction. The goals include:
Producing "ultra-large, all-source information repositories."
Identifying "biometric signatures of humans."
Integrating systems that aid in "storytelling, change detection and truth maintenance."
"Analyzing these models ... to determine the most probable current or future scenario."
Inventing "new algorithms for mining, combining and refining information for subsequent inclusion into the database."
Jan Walker, the office spokeswoman, put it in simpler terms.
"We need to understand the things (terrorists) are doing - buying things, entering the country, moving around," she said. "If you could look at all those things, we can ... connect the dots."
Doing so would require federal authorities to tap into a broader array of public and private data than they now can easily retrieve, such as library and school records, prescriptions, travel reservations, cryptic e-mail, telephone logs, credit-card purchases and applications for pilot's licenses.
In a recent discussion with The Washington Post, Poindexter said any operational system must include safeguards to govern the collection and sharing of data.
Poindexter said that while he was sensitive to privacy concerns, his mission was to develop technology. It was up to Congress and policy-makers to construct policy.
"We can develop the best technology in the world, and unless there is public acceptance and understanding of the necessity, it will never be implemented," he said. "We're just as concerned as the next person with protecting privacy." The Total Information Awareness project reportedly receives about $200 million a year. The Pentagon has just begun awarding contracts, including one allocating $1.5 million to a Virginia high-tech consulting company as part of a $62 million contract stretching to 2007.
Plans call for the development of a system prototype based on test data that would be deployed at the Army Intelligence and Security Command at Fort Belvoir, Va.
While much of the project remains murky, "it appears to be beyond the planning stage," said constitutional scholar Robert Levy of the Cato Institute. "It's another example of the executive branch chipping away at civil liberties" following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, said Levy, a senior fellow at the libertarian think tank.
Others worry that any far-reaching central database would just compound the tracking errors already demonstrated by a host of federal agencies.
If record-keeping glitches and computer failures already haunt the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, why not the Information Awareness Office, too?
As for monitoring credit-card use, defense expert Pike raised another query: "Terrorists can't pay cash?"
Still, the thrust of the Pentagon's ideas resonate with many groups studying ways to tackle terrorism with the best of high technology.
The Markle Foundation Task Force on National Security in the Information Age includes experts who served in the past four presidential administrations. The task force last month issued a report calling for "a more horizontal, cooperative and fluid process of intelligence collection, sharing and analysis."
Acceptance of snooping
Privacy experts not outraged by Poindexter's proposals simply shrug.
"The violation of our privacy is already happening, with all these credit companies and telemarketers buying and selling personal data on us," said sociologist Amitai Etzioni, author of The Limits of Privacy.
"If we can tolerate these violations for profit, then why not for national security?" he asked.
"The consequences are hardly the same," replied Mihir Kshirsagar of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. "The hassle of throwing away a bunch of junk mail is quite different than being wrongly arrested in a terrorism probe."
In the interest of national security, Congress last year passed the USA Patriot Act, which gave the Justice Department broad discretion in using wiretaps and e-mail surveillance techniques to track suspected terrorists and spies.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court reviewed the act and took the unprecedented step of setting restrictions that it considered necessary to ensure due process. The secret court's opinion, declassified and released in August, documented abuses of federal surveillance warrants in 75 cases over the past decade.
On Monday, however, a three-judge federal appeals panel overturned that decision. The judges ruled the government's proposed use of the Patriot Act "is constitutional because the surveillances it authorizes are reasonable."
Professor Twight, author of Dependent on D.C., said such acceptance of electronic snooping and data sharing underscored more than society's fear of terrorism.
Today, she noted, shoppers and pedestrians don't blanch at video cameras zooming in on them. Parents apply for Social Security numbers for their newborns, as now required by federal law.
"It's been such an incremental process, everyone's gotten used to being tracked," Twight said. "Here's the calmest way to put it: I don't know how a free society can continue under these circumstances."
Federal authorities from the president to Attorney General John Ashcroft - hailed in the past as a champion of electronic privacy causes when he was a U.S. senator - insist the government has no interest in monitoring law-abiding citizens.
But even those citizens might adjust their behavior, said Brooklyn Law School professor Paul Schwartz.
"Individuals whose personal data are shared, processed and stored by a mysterious, incalculable bureaucracy will be more likely to act as the government wishes them to behave," Schwartz wrote in 1992 in the Hastings Law Review.
As such, people in a world of Total Information Awareness might think differently about their credit cards.
Not only will Visa be "everywhere you want to be," as the commercials go. But so, say some experts, will your government.
Copyright 2002 Kansas City Star" http://www.globalsecurity.org/org/news/2002/021124-secure01.htm
Well a little reading between the lines and you can see the overall implications of all of this... This link is maintained by John Pike, by the way... any relation to Albert Pike... I wonder...?
--OldyotiWhen my country, into which I had just set my foot, was set on fire about my ears, it was time to stir. It was time for every man to stir." -- Thomas Paine, Common Sense