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Feature

Is TIPS Over The Top?

President Bush's Terrorist Information and Prevention System was slated to go live this month, but it has been sidetracked by opposition.
President Bush's Terrorist Information and Prevention System was slated to go live this month, but it has been sidetracked by opposition. Among the naysayers are civil liberties groups, some politicians, and even an IT consulting firm.

TIPS calls for a wide range of workers to report suspected terrorist activity via phone or the Web. One technology expert thinks it simply won't work: Curt Hall, a senior consultant at consulting firm Cutter Consortium, this month issued a statement saying the TIPS data warehouse will be too unwieldy for government to use effectively.

Now the Justice Department is scaling back TIPS-it won't ask mail carriers, utility employees, and others who work near homes to contribute. It will still ask for help from dock workers, truckers, and others who work in public settings.

At least one IT-industry luminary thinks people are overreacting to the government's efforts to collect more data on suspected terrorists. Says Oracle CEO Larry Ellison: "We've done such a spectacular job of protecting ourselves against our government, we've made it difficult for our government to protect us."