Internet activists have a message for John Poindexter, the head of a controversial Pentagon research project to find terrorists by searching the everyday transactions of Americans: Threaten to invade our privacy, we'll invade yours.
They've plastered Poindexter's email address and home phone number on dozens of web sites, forcing him to block all incoming calls. They've posted satellite images of his suburban Washington house and maps showing how to get there. And they've created online forms to collect even more personal data on him.
"If you are a store clerk, study the photos above. Learn this face. If you are a shipping clerk, study this name," reads a site titled The John Poindexter Awareness Office, a play on Poindexter's Information Awareness Office at the Pentagon. "When and if you see Mr Poindexter purchase something, travel somewhere or do, well, anything - send us a tip describing your observations. We will display the information received right here on this Web site."
It's all an attempt to turn the tables on Poindexter, who is trying to create a vast database of information, from credit card purchases to medical files, and develop software to search it for signs of terrorist activity. The project, called Total Information Awareness, has outraged civil libertarians since it became widely known in November - and spurred some people to do a little database surfing of their own.
"This is sort of a way of making him feel watched in the same way other people would feel watched," said Stephen DeVoy, 40, a computer scientist who created the John Poindexter Awareness Office site.