Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


This is coolbert:

Good program last night on the local public television station.

Hedrick Smith is speaking about data mining.

A subject that has been touched upon in previous blog entries.

How the federal government has not given up on data mining and the usefulness of same in identifying and apprehending terrorists BEFORE THEY STRIKE!!

[does anyone have A PROBLEM with detecting and stopping terrorists BEFORE they strike??]

Hedrick Smith at one time was what you would refer to as a Kremlinologist or a Sovietologist. A man who made a life's work studying the Soviet system, producing TV programs dealing with the old Soviet Union it all it's manifestations.

Since the demise of the Soviet Union, Hedrick has been trying to reinvent himself. His product just does not seem to be up to the level it was in the old Soviet days.

But he still does have good stuff.

As regards the data mining. Using very large amounts of data from digitized and computerized sources with complex algorithms for analysis. Fast computers crunch the data and "look" for connections that ordinarily would not be obvious.

As was done in 2003 when it was suspected that Al Qaeda was planning an attack on Las Vegas.

[Las Vegas has been thought to be the perfect target for the jihadi terrorist. In the mind of the jihadi, all that is evil about America is encapsulated within Las Vegas. Gambling, drinking, partying, male and female mixing and having fun, prostitution, dancing, singing, scantily clad show girls, etc. Striking Las Vegas and striking hard would represent a blow against one of the foremost symbols of "The Great Satan" and abomination Amriki.]

According to Hedrick, studying the Las Vegas data mining "incident" of 2003, as best as can be done [officials are hesitant and reluctant to talk about the measures taken], represents:

"an unusual opportunity to learn more about how the government, in its pre-emptive hunt for terrorists, is using data-mining technologies to comb through mountains of digital information now available about all of us."

Mountains of data is crunched through computers that use complex algorithms to ferret out the terrorists, if they are present. Similar to what was envisioned in the Total Information Awareness [TIA] program that was scrapped after it became "controversial".

Controversial only in the sense that with TIA, the federal government was crunching the data.



Casinos that utilized a data mining program called NORA:

"Jonas [the inventor of NORA] had made a name for himself in the Vegas security crowd by marketing a computer program that helped ferret out card cheats among casino job applicants. Jonas' program, called Non-Obvious Relationship Awareness, or NORA, was designed to detect hidden connections among seemingly unrelated individuals by sifting through vast amounts of personal data"

Casinos that are very interested in security. Obviously. Casinos have operators and owners that are not dumb. A LOT of folks think they can beat the "system" at a casino by cheating. One way of cheating is for a criminal to befriend a dealer at a table. The dealer and the criminal work out a deal to fleece the casino by cheating at card games. The dealer and criminal share the loot obtained from cheating.

NORA sought out connections between dealers working for the casinos and known criminals. Sought out these connections by using data mining. Employees of the casinos would have their names entered into the NORA data base and mined to see if "hits" existed between them and known criminals.

[it was not mentioned how successful NORA was or is!]

What people think is so invasive and dangerous for the government to do, data mine, has been GOING ON FOR YEARS BY PRIVATE CONCERNS.

TIA never got off the ground. But that will not and does not stop data mining from occurring. The government can BUY the info from commercial concerns who have been doing this "research" for some time now!!

Privacy advocates, I fear you are out of luck!!



Anonymous JSBolton said...

Privacy for aggression is a contradiction-in-terms; actions like terrorism are always public affairs. The conspiracy for them is also necessarily a public matter.
Leftists are worried that some'idealistic' student wil be caught in a dragnet of connectivity;
but he is not idealistic or praiseworthy at all, if he is trying to get some terrorism going here, and associating with others towards that end.

3:11 AM


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