US Senate blocks government data-mining plan

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US Senate blocks government data-mining plan

The US Senate has put the brakes on a much-criticised US Department of Defense (DoD) data-mining project until Congress can review it.

An amendment to a government appropriations bill, cuts spending for the Defense Advanced Research Agency's Total Information Awareness (TIA).

The amendment requires the US attorney general, secretary of defence and director of the Central Intelligence Agency to provide a detailed report on their plans within 60 days of the proposal becoming law.

The amendment would also require the DoD to get approval from Congress before using the programme to collect information on US citizens. The department would not need authorisation to use TIA in "lawful" overseas military and intelligence operations.

The DoD has released little information on TIA which, opponents fear, could dig up private information on many US residents such as medical and credit card records.

The department has promised it would erect internal safeguards of privacy.

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