The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted unanimously to slap restrictions on a controversial Pentagon data-mining program that critics say would amount to a domestic spying apparatus.
By unanimous consent, the Senate inserted a moratorium on the program into a massive spending bill, which is expected to receive a final vote late Thursday or Friday.
The vote represents an unusual triumph of privacy concerns over the Bush administration's arguments that the Pentagon's Total Information Awareness (TIA) program would be useful for national security. If fully implemented, TIA would link databases from sources such as credit card companies, medical insurers and motor vehicle agencies in hopes of snaring terrorists.
Final passage of the moratorium is not certain, however. Because the House of Representatives' version of the omnibus appropriations bill does not include any limits on TIA, a conference committee will have the final say. [Privacy Digest]