This quote got my attention from today's USA Today article on the NSA phone database furor:

"It's the largest database ever assembled in the world"... the agency's goal is "to create a database of every call ever made" within the nation's borders...

And then I remembered something about database technology and some controvery from way back when...

Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison yesterday defended his controversial proposal to create a single, national database where government information on individuals would be stored, saying the software that may be used to create the database has been delivered.

Ellison, speaking at this week's Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco - the Redwood Shores database software giant's largest annual trade show - declined to say which government agency acquired the software. But he did tell reporters that Oracle, named for an early Central Intelligence Agency project on which Ellison worked, supplied a version of its latest database with special security features. [Emphasis mine]

Anyone care to guess which agency was the recipient of this technology?

For those of you who don't know, Oracle is the premier database development company.  It's nearly without a doubt that the government is probably using Oracle software in developing this database "of every call ever made."

A bit more history from only a few years ago...  seems Ellison wanted to donate his technology to the Feds...

Ellison proposes bringing information from "myriad government databases (such as Social Security and law-enforcement records) together in a single national file." And Oracle will provide the software for free "with no strings attached," he offered. Ellison, in a Wall Street Journal oped piece, contends that we do not need "one national ID card." But that's certainly what his proposal sounds like.

"A national database combined with biometrics, thumbprints, hand prints, iris scans, or other new technology could detect false identities," he wrote. "Gaining entry to an airport or other secure locations would require people to present a photo ID, put their thumb on a fingerprint scanner and tell the guard their Social Security number. This information would be cross-checked with the database."

Back then, in the height of the post-9/11 world, even then, Ellison found himself defending his actions to the more civil libertarion-minded among us.

"Then we should have a national directory . . . where the FBI or some national police agency keeps track of all the people that we think are bad guys."

Ellison has offered to donate Oracle software to run such a database.

If the CIA, FBI and other government databases were all put together, the Sept. 11 terrorists who were already wanted by the government would never have been able to enter the country and buy tickets for their targeted flights, Ellison said.

But he claims he has no designs to intrude on our civil liberties...

Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison used part of his stage time at the LinuxWorld conference Wednesday to defend his call for a federal identity database, which he said has been widely misunderstood.

Ellison said he never actually proposed a national identification card, although many have interpreted his plan that way.

"The only thing I proposed was that the existing government IDs should be as difficult to duplicate as our credit cards," he said.

In case you already forgot... "It's the largest database ever assembled in the world..."

Originally posted to sfluke on Thu May 11, 2006 at 10:27 PM PDT.


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