The $54m Terrorism Information Awareness (TIA) project was intended to search travel records, credit card bills, e-mail and medical records, to bank deposits and magazine subscriptions in an effort to uncover suspected terrorists.
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Civil liberties activists have campaigned against TIA, which was the brainchild of John Poindexter, a central figure from the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal, who is now at the military research institute, the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency.The Senate voted unanimously to forbid the US Defence Department from spending any of its $369bn budget on the TIA programme, despite assurances from the Pentagon that it would protect the privacy of citizens.