Terrorism Information and Prevention System (TIPS)
"According to a recent news story, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may have violated federal privacy laws by using American citizens' data without providing legally-required notice to the public. Reportedly, the data was used to test out a new data-mining program entitled Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight and Semantic Enhancement (ADVISE), that could take effect as soon as 2008. ADVISE is being tested via several DHS pilot programs, including one at the Office of Intelligence and Analysis."
SEC. 880. PROHIBITION OF THE TERRORISM INFORMATION AND PREVENTION SYSTEM.
Any and all activities of the Federal Government to implement the proposed component program of the Citizen Corps known as Operation TIPS (Terrorism Information and Prevention System) are hereby prohibited.
- The USA Patriot Act
- Intellectual Freedom Issues
- An ACLU news release on the Total Information Awareness program
"Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us."—Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, "The One Un-American Act." Nieman Reports, vol. 7, no. 1 (Jan. 1953): p. 20.
“What happened was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to be governed by surprise, to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believe that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security. ~ The crises and reforms (real reforms too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter. ~ To live in the process is absolutely not to notice it — please try to believe me — unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted.’ ~ Believe me this is true. Each act, each occasion is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow. ~ Suddenly it all comes down, all at once. You see what you are, what you have done, or, more accurately, what you haven't done (for that was all that was required of most of us: that we did nothing) . . . You remember everything now, and your heart breaks. Too late. You are compromised beyond repair.” — A German professor describing the coming of fascism in They Thought They Were Free by Milton Mayer
In the News: TIPS
Camps for Citizens: Ashcroft's Hellish Vision (August 15, 2002)
“Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft's announced desire for camps for U.S. citizens he deems to be ‘enemy combatants’ has moved him from merely being a political embarrassment to being a constitutional menace.”
Joe Lieberman Joins Big Brother: The Return of the Thought Police (August 12, 2002)
“By directing Americans to conduct illegal searches—searches the police would not have the authority to conduct without a warrant—on their fellow Americans, the U.S. Government is essentially turning the average citizen into an extension of the thought police.”
Antiterror tipster plan to be overhauled (August 10, 2002)
“The Operation TIPS program being instituted by the Justice Department initially was to have been launched this month. But on Friday, officials said it will not be put into effect until Congress returns in September. The idea is to allow time for consultation with lawmakers, they said. In the meantime, the department modified the plan to exclude as would-be tipsters people from industries and government agencies that often have access to people's homes. The Terrorism Information and Prevention System will focus instead on workers who operate on the highways, such as truck drivers, and at the ports of entry, officials said.”
“John Ashcroft and the Bush Administration’s insatiable appetite for new powers in the wake of 9/11 has taken on an alarming dimension — the recruitment of American workers, including your meter reader and your cable technician among them — to spy on their fellow Americans.”
Ashcroft’s Master Plan to Spy on Us (August 2, 2002)
“But Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich, ranking Democrat on the Government Oversight Committee’s National Security Oversight Subcommittee, told Bill Berkowitz in The Progressive: ‘It appears we are being transformed from an information society to an informant society.’”
This Delivery Guy Won't Spy (July 31, 2002)
“After the World Trade Center attack, my fellow workers and I — along with my company's management — donated time and money to support the victims of this crisis. We will be there for our country — and our customers — anytime we are needed. But a program that asks people like us to do surveillance is a dangerous overreaction. It threatens the trust we've built in the communities we serve every day. After all, part of being free in America is knowing that the people who live and work in your neighborhood are not reporting on your activities. To surrender that freedom is to give a victory to the terrorists who thought they could intimidate an entire nation. As for me, I won't live in fear and I won't foster it, either.”
The Societal Costs of Surveillance (July 26, 2002)
“But today in America, I wonder what can get a person into trouble. What if the exterminator, whose monthly visits keep my house pest free, suddenly registers my last name as unusual? I’m a transplant to Hawaii and not a member of its common ethnic groups. What if the person who fixed my window screens tells someone about the Islamic-style plaque in my kitchen, the one with the 99 names of God written in Arabic script, a beautiful reminder of a short tourist trip to Pakistan before all this started? What if the man who delivered some furniture the other day reports the phone call he heard me take from my father, the one in which I commiserated with him about the stock market and said nasty things about people in power? What will happen when the snooping begins?”
War on Terrorism or Police State? (July 25, 2002)
“For, if we win the war on terrorism, but create a police state in the process, what have we won?”
Stop the Government from Turning Neighbor Against Neighbor!
“In one of the most misguided responses to the terrorist attacks, President Bush is proposing a program to recruit one million volunteers to act as spies and informants against their neighbors.”
The Furor Over TIPS (July 23, 2002)
“‘The notion that you would actually encourage people who are not empowered or trained to do so, to snoop on their fellow citizens and report [on] them is particularly spooky,’ says Joan Bertin, Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Censorship. ‘There seems to be no limits, no controls, no guidelines, no rules, no nothing.’”
A chill in the library (July 23, 2002)
“Under the USA-Patriot Act, passed by Congress in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, librarians have been made unwitting partners in the FBI’s search for potential terrorists. Any records a library might retain on a patron’s reading choices or Internet use are now retrievable by federal law enforcement with an easily obtainable court order. Librarians, traditionally defenders of intellectual freedom, are being pressed to become extensions of law enforcement, and many are balking at the new job description.”
Republican Majority Leader Armey Rejects White House Plans for Operation TIPS, National ID (July 18, 2002)
“‘Majority Leader Armey has taken a courageous step in insisting that we protect our privacy in the fight against terror,’ said Rachel King, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. ‘There is no place in America for either an internal passport or for utility workers and cable technicians to become government-sanctioned peeping toms.’”
Terrorism Information and Prevention System (TIPS)
“Operation TIPS — the Terrorism Information and Prevention System — will be a nationwide program giving millions of American truckers, train conductors, ship captains, utility employees, and others a formal way to report suspicious terrorist activity. Operation TIPS, a project of the U.S. Department of Justice, will begin as a pilot program in 10 cities that will be selected.” See also Citizen Corp.