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Phil Ryan to David Boulton and John Vasconcellos re Privacy  - Ethics 5

From a constitutional lawyer's perspective, the most attractive feature of Callixa's Threat Detector is that it does not access or convey information about anyone other than suspected terrorists about whom law enforcement has credible information and it does not single out people because of their race, religion or accent of speech! The only information the Threat Detector gathers from airlines is the personal information currently required to board a flight. The only information the Threat Detector gathers from the more than 40 federal agencies with terrorist jurisdiction is a suspected terrorist. And only law enforcement officials see this information. Thus, Mohammed Atta's "invaded privacy" keeps him off the plane!

I think David is correct that for 30 years we have lacked the political will to recognize that information is the sine qua non of public safety. It is equally true that data warehousing is a budget buster, takes years to install and is never current. Three years ago, Dr. Bitton introduced real-time data integration to the IT world. Sandy Berger, former National Security Advisor to President Clinton cut to the heart of the political problem when he said: "Real-time, intelligent data-sharing among agencies such as INS, Customs, Federal, state and local law enforcement is a must, but recognize the hurdles...sharing data presents policy and turf issues...give up part of your database and you lose part of your budget."

Mayor Guiliani said, "We need the information and we need it right away. We need real-time information about what is happening."

September 11th has seared a fundamental truth in the American consciousness. It is tragically clear that un-communicated information is conveyed ignorance.

Phil Ryan

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