Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Department of the Obvious: Anti-Terrorist Data Mining Doesn't Work

I've emerged from the cave where Osama bin Laden and I were working on the new Guide to Demand Generation Systems (oops -- the Osama part was supposed to be secret) and am now catching up with the rest of the world. One news item that caught my attention described a recent National Research Council report that concluded data mining to find terrorists "is neither feasible as an objective nor desirable as a goal of technology development efforts." See "Government report: data mining doesn't work well" from CNET.

The article pretty much speaks for itself and is no surprise to anyone who is even remotely familiar with the actual capabilities of the underlying technology. Sady, this group is a tiny minority while the rest of the world bases its notions of what's possible on movies like Minority Report and Enemy of the State, and TV shows like 24. (Actually, I've never seen 24, so I don't really know what claims it makes for technology.) So even though this is outside the normal range of topics for this blog, it's worth publicizing a bit in the hopes of stimulating a more informed public conversation.

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