Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

This may be old news for many of you, but I just found out that John Poindexter, the mastermind behind the "Total Information Awareness" project in the US, tendered his resignation August 12.

John Poindexter’s whirlwind 20 months as head of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s newly created Office of Information Awareness will end on Aug. 29, the day he will officially step down.

A PDF of his resignation letter on the Washington Post site.

Thanks to twostop on #joiito


Well, everyone goes on and on about the bureacratically impacted needing to think 'outside the box', etc. And when they do...

I don't think anybody really minds Pointdexter leaving, but many people are worried about the long term impact on DARPA and DARPA funded research. I don't think many people realize the impact DARPA has had computing as we experience it today. I just wrote a posting "In Defense of DARPA" rehashing some of their impact on computing systems.

[somehow my trackback to you on this got lost ...]

Ironically, now that the the Middle East options market, or whatever it was, has been shut down, there are quite a few people coming out saying maybe it wasn't such a bad idea after all. And not just Poindexter supporters. A U.S. university has been doing this kind of market for 10 years or so to try to predict U.S. elections; various academics are now saying it might be worth looking into.

I guess the CIA should have done it under deep cover, rather than DARPA. It does leave a certain sour taste in the mouth, since those profiting from the market the most would probably be scuzballs with close connection with terrorists ... but it might just work.

So let me get this straight, it's okay to pump money into a terrorism betting system, and it's okay to pump money into a grudge invasion/occupation in Iraq, but it's not an issue on anyone's mind that no real money has been pumped into making major u.s. terrorism targets safer? I live in nyc, believe me, it's no safer than pre-9/11. I continue to be astounded at this new american apathy towards the whole sale reeming u.s. citizens are getting from the governmental-big business cabal. Geez, I guess this "is" the Matrix. Time to find an island and unplug maybe?

Do you really think the best response to terrorism is to harden all the targets? Do you think the economy can afford to harden New York City from all potential attacks?

Despite the fact that few want to admit as much, the concept of homeland security needs to be grounded in risk management. There is no way we can ever successfully protect all targets. You might find this hard to believe, but programs like what DARPA is sponsoring and others in intelligence community are the best bet to keep you safe in NYC as they were geared towards understanding and detering the threat.

Also, I don't know what your definition of "major money" is, but literally billions of dollars have been pumped into making targets safer. Hundreds of millions more into First Responder initiatives such as equipment and training. Several billion into aviation security and a couple of billion just keeping the aviation industry afloat.

In the greater scheme of things, the DARPA programs (and I mean the IAO in general, not just PAMS) are low cost, with potential high yield which is what DARPA was founded to do.

You know Collin Powel was a key figure in Iran Contra too.

Good riddance, if indeed we're really rid of Admiral Poindexter. The way he keeps popping back up every time a particularly repressive Republican administration takes power makes me think somebody better get out the wooden stake.

If anyone really wants to make book on whether Los Angeles or Houston or Paris will be the next terrorist target, they can no doubt do so in Vegas.

As for the Terrorist Future Market being a good idea, um, if it were accepting money anonymously as reported, then bin Laden et al could place a big bet on an unlikely target spot, blow it up and cash in big (on other people's money). How many different ways can something be so morally repugnant simultaneously?

BTW, just because Rumsfeld and Co. got together and decided Poindexter had to publicly walk the plank doesn't mean they still don't get together for brandy and cigars in the back room and cook up new Orwellian ideas together. All it means is that those ideas won't bear the Poindexter label.

This crew bears watching.

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