DefenseTech has a nice story about the apparent rebirth of the unholy TIA program to mine vast volumes of information about Americans from the Internet and from commercial data warehouses. New life is given to this objective with the NSA's project called Topsail and the DHS project called ADVISE. This ADVISE program is intended to go beyond simply identifying terrorists, and to reveal their motives and intentions. uh ... huh ... Well, if you believe that, then ... Let me explain myself. I believe that anybody looking at this same data (Amazon purchases, airline flights, gas purchases, hotel bills) for me will find it very difficult to discern my intentions. And I have a sneaking suspicion that terrorists are better than I am at disguising their activities. Oh sure, it'd certainly help to catch a few bad guys. But, like the TSA, it's guaranteed to be implemented pooly and will annoy, insult, harm, and ruin many innocent people.
Footnote: I think such data mining is an excellent idea. I just have serious reservations about the government's ability to do it properly and effectively within a non-police state. We all know what a wonderful job the FBI did with Trilogy.