Sunday, June 11, 2006

If we knew then...

I have a confession to make. I don't delete email. The worst part is, it's not because I'm lazy. It's because I either saved them for a reason or I still believe I'm actually going to answer two year old emails. But you know what, sometimes I do. I mean how funny is that to get an answer to a two year old email?

I have 5683 emails archived just on one account. Remarkably it doesn't use up that much bandwidth and once in while, like now, when I'm too fried to read news, I take a stroll down memory lane to see what was occupying our thoughts.

Two years ago the breadth of federal datamining was just emerging in the news. The author had this to say.
So, what exactly is data mining in this context? According to the GAO, data mining is "a technique for extracting knowledge from large volumes of data." More specifically, data mining is described as "the application of database technology and techniques — such as statistical analysis and modeling — to uncover hidden patterns and subtle relationships in data and to infer rules that allow for the prediction of future results." [...]

...Even the GAO agrees that "more work is needed to shed light on the privacy implications of [data mining] efforts." The public is entitled to know whether Big Brother has entered our lives, 20 years after Orwell's designated date of 1984.
No one listened, or at least not enough of us did and two years later, we have the NSA and some 500 datamining projects just for starters.
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2 Comments:

Blogger Mike Bogle said...

To add to that, a news report has been released within the last day or so that indicates the NSA is trying to develop technologies that enable trawling social neworking sites like MySpace using "non-human" sources - e.g. programs that snoop automatically - while on the lookout for anything resembling "terrorist activity." I can only imaging this would apply to other blogs and websites as well.

Apparently when the results are cross-indexed with other existing information, it can achieve a much more specific picture about people.

Or according to today's Sydney Morning Herald:

"Social networking information might then be combined with other information gathered such as locational data provided mobile phone records, and financial transactions recorded by banks and credit card companies."

The frightening thing is that they are doing this without warrants and without suspicion of any particular person - it's just a blanket search to see what they can come up with.

I wonder if this means they now have dossiers on most of the United States, if not the planet.

I guess the moral of the story for folks like us is to watch what we say on our blogs. It is public domain after all, therefore a warrant isn't required. So they don't have to argue a case as to why they're doing it, and can continue to spy on the entire planet for no good reason.

6:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Libby said...

I saw that in passing Mike. I'm behind on my reading on account of my work schedule. The police state is forming around us, right before our eyes and some days it feels like nobody sees it, or least not enough of us.

11:58:00 AM  

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