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The National Security Archive at George Washington University

CONSORTIUM NEWS - Edited by Robert Parry


February 02, 2003

Federal 'Internet Monitoring Center' Supposedly Unrelated to TIA

'Feds Building Internet Monitoring Center' (1/31/03 - Washington Post)

The "Global Early Warning Information System," (GEWIS, pronounced "gee-whiz") is being built by the National Communications System (NCS), a Defense agency established in 1962 to ensure that the government has access to adequate communications systems during national emergencies. It is [supposedly] unrelated to the Total Information Awareness program, a planned Defense Department program that would actively mine databases worldwide to uncover terrorist and other threats.

The NCS started building the GEWIS system shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when it began asking major Internet and telecommunications providers to sell "real-time" data about the status of their networks, said NCS Deputy Manager Brent Greene.

The NCS has spent an undisclosed sum of money to buy data from the members of the National Coordinating Center for Telecommunications, an NCS information sharing group established during the Clinton administration that includes some the largest telecom and Internet service providers in the world, including WorldCom, Verizon, Sprint, SBC Communications, Qwest and BellSouth.

Greene said the agency now receives data from several key telecom and Internet service providers, and in the next two months hopes to launch the first stage of its pilot project, which will combine the information into a graphical view of the health of the Internet.

The NCS is co-managed by the White House and the head of the Defense Information Systems Agency, which is responsible for guarding the communications infrastructures of the military and intelligence communities. On March 1, the NCS will be folded into the Department of Homeland Security, along with four other federal cybersecurity divisions.

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