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US Senate pulls funding from anti-terror data mining project

The US Senate has blocked funding for a controversial IT data mining project that would search the personal records of US citizens in the search for potential terrorists.

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.

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.

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