questions about privacy and other civil liberties, cost, effectiveness, legality, and consistency with societal values.

These issues and the lack of consensus about how they should be evaluated have contributed to limiting the ability of public officials to make rational and informed choices about information-based programs for counterterrorism, research on potentially promising systems, and the availability of information about such systems and their use.

Many groups and individuals have considered how information-based programs should be evaluated and under what conditions they should be deployed. The U.S. Department of Defense Technology and Privacy Advisory Committee,1 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee,2 the Markle Foundation Task Force on National Security in the Information Age,3 and the McCormick Tribune Foundation’s Cantigny Conference on Counterterrorism Technology and Privacy4 are among the many groups—inside and outside government—to address these vital issues. There is a striking degree of consistency among their recommendations and also in the extent to which they have not been implemented.

Building on the work of these prior efforts and informed by the members’ experiences and research, the committee designed a framework to guide public officials charged with making decisions about the development, procurement, and use of information-based programs. Its purpose is not to impose bureaucratic compliance requirements, but rather to assist well-meaning people at every level of government to do their jobs better, to enhance their effectiveness in countering terrorist threats, to facilitate the wise and timely implementation of new programs, to invest limited government resources wisely, and to ensure that basic American values are not compromised when doing so. The committee also intends the framework to assist judges and policy makers responsible for approving or evaluating those decisions, legislators in crafting the law that governs these programs, and the press and the public in their broad and critical oversight of government activities.

This framework not only shares much in common with the recommendations of prior groups, but it is also consistent with many of the widely recognized standards that already guide information technology procurement, deployment, and use decisions in industry and other areas


See Technology and Privacy Advisory Committee, Safeguarding Privacy in the Fight against Terrorism, Department of Defense, Washington, D.C., March 2004, available at




For more information, see


See “The Cantigny principles on technology, terrorism, and privacy,” National Security Law Report 27(1):14-16, February 2005.

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