December 4, 2001 8:20 PM PST

Ellison donates software for U.S. security

SAN FRANCISCO--Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison said Tuesday that he has donated Oracle software to the U.S. government to create a database for national security.

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Ellison has championed the need for the United States to create a national standard for identification cards. During his keynote speech at Oracle's OpenWorld customer conference here, Ellison said he has delivered Oracle's 9i database management software to a U.S. government agency for national security, but he declined to give further details, such as which agency or for what usage.

"We don't run those law enforcement agencies. We just provide them software," he said during a news conference.

Ellison had earlier offered to donate Oracle's database software, but to charge for maintenance and upgrades as part of his goal of creating a national ID standard.

Ellison has suggested airport security would be improved by requiring travelers to provide their names and Social Security numbers to airport security personnel. Security personnel could then compare the travelers' thumbprints with those stored in a national security database to ensure accurate identification.

When Oracle started up nearly 25 years ago, it built databases for the CIA. Database management software allows businesses, Web sites and government agencies to store and manage vast amounts of information.

For example, Ellison said, the Immigration and Naturalization Service has more than 80,000 handprints of travelers and foreigners with visas to enter the country. He said national security data is housed in multiple databases, when it should be grouped together in one central repository.

"There is cooperation" among government agencies, he said. "But there's a lot of data fragmentation."

During his news conference, Ellison added that a national standard for identification cards is important for national security reasons. "Our existing IDs should not be easily forged," he said. "Credit cards are based on a set of standards; why doesn't the government?"

 

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