U.S. Federal Data Mining Programs in the Context of the War on Terror: The Congress, Court, and Concerns for Privacy Protection

U.S. Federal Data Mining Programs in the Context of the War on Terror: The Congress, Court, and Concerns for Privacy Protection

Shahid M. Shahidullah (Virginia State University, USA) and Mokerrom Hossain (Virginia State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 30
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-323-2.ch415
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Abstract

This chapter examines the issues and concerns raised in the context of the recent growth of federal mining programs. The chapter argues that in the context of the war on terror, intelligence gathering on terrorist activities both within and outside the United States has emerged as one of the core strategies for homeland security. The major national security related federal agencies such as the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense have developed a number of data mining programs to improve terrorism intelligence gathering and analysis in the wake of the events of September 11, 2001. Some data mining programs have, however, raised a number of issues related to privacy protections and civil liberties. These issues have given birth to a wider debate in the nation and raised new tensions about how to search for a balance between the needs for the protection of privacy and civil liberties, and the needs for national security. The authors believe that the future of this debate is intimately connected to the future of the war on terror. Currently, Congress and the federal courts seem to be more in favor of supporting the preeminent needs of protecting national security. Through a number of enactments, Congress has broadened the federal power for collecting terrorism intelligence both at home and abroad. In a number of cases, the federal courts have ruled in favor of the doctrines of the “state secret privilege” and the “inherent power of the President” to emphasize the overriding need for protecting national security in the context of the war on terror. As America has embarked on a long and protracted ideological war against radical militant Islam, issues of national security and the need for data mining for detecting and analyzing terrorist activities are likely to remain dominant for a long time.

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