As they walked along the busy, yellow-lit tiers of offices, Anderton said: “You’re acquainted with the theory of precrime, of course. I presume we can take that for granted.” — Philip K. Dick, The Minority Report
From COINTELPRO to the illegal targeting of antiwar activists and Muslim-Americans, the FBI is America’s premier political police agency. And now, from the folks who brought us Wi-Fi hacking, viral computer spyware and al-Qaeda triple agent Ali Mohamed comes the Bureau’s Department of Precrime!
A chilling new report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) reveals the breadth and scope of the FBI’s Investigative Data Warehouse (IDW), the Bureau’s massive data-mining project.
With more than a billion records “many of which contain information on American citizens,” EFF is calling on Congress to demand FBI accountability and strict oversight of this Orwellian project. By all accounts IDW is huge and growing at a geometric pace. According to the Bureau’s own narrative,
The IDW received its initial authority to operate in September 2005, and successfully completed a Federal Information Security Management Act audit in May 2007. As of September 2008, the IDW had: 7,223 active user accounts; 3,826 FBI personnel trained on the system, and 997,368,450 unique searchable documents. The IDW transitioned to the operations and maintenance phase during FY 2008. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Investigative Data Warehouse,” no date)
EFF notes that “the Library on Congress by way of comparison, has about 138 million (138,313,427) items in its collection.”
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