At that hearing, a law professor and congressman disagreed over whether Congress should regulate government data-mining efforts, while most witnesses praised the use of data analysis for everything from reducing credit card abuse in government to catching terrorists.
Jeffrey Rosen, a law professor at
Rosen said the U.S. Department of Defense's Total Information Awareness (TIA) research project, which focuses on surveillance through mass data mining, and the Transportation Security Administration's proposed second version of the Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System (CAPPS II) are examples of such "mass dataveillance." (More information about CAPPS II, can be found at http://www.tsa.gov/public/display?theme=44&content=535.)
"It's possible to design data-mining technologies in ways that strike better rather than worse balances between liberty and security," Rosen told the Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations, and the Census. That subcommittee falls under the House Committee on Government Reform.
"I urge Congress to accept the task of learning about the design choices inherent in these technologies. You have it in your power to strike a thoughtful balance between liberty and security, and all you need now is the will," he said.
Congress has decided to put a hold on the hotly debated TIA project, but Rep. Tom Davis, a Republican from
Calling information retrieval the "oil of the 21st century,"