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And yet...TrapWire does have government connections that raise some red flags about who is perusing the data it collects. In August 2011, Michael Maness wrote to Burton:
TrapWire SAR reports are fed directly/automatically into the National SAR Initiative (NSI) that Scott mentions...as well as the FBI's eGuardian system if/when there's confirmed nexus to terrorism or major crimes (which is happening frequently). Additionally, our networks in LA, Vegas and DC all support See Something Say Something (S4 as I call it), with TrapWire actually acting as the analytic tool behind the scenes. Pentagon, Ft. Meade and USMC (which is pushing to get TrapWire deployed globally for their bases) all feed their own military-centric S4 type programs. ("Eagle Eyes" at Quantico for instance).
As the ACLU put it, "Some of the Wikileaks-fueled swirl of stories about the TrapWire program appear to have been overhyped. ... Beyond the details, all the 'hype' online over the TrapWire story is a reflection and implicit recognition that such a system is now technologically possible, and we are barreling full speed toward a surveillance society."
We're almost certainly not yet living in the Panopticon. But any step in that direction—even if it's well-spun marketing-speak—is worth watching.