Wednesday, May 10, 2006

NSA wiretapping

What amazes me, is that people can get things so wrong:
http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/5/11/1027/61797
"Obviously, they're fighting terror. Because every single American might just be participating in terrorism. So they really need to keep track of all of our phone calls. It's obvious, right? Obvious, but not particularly legal, though since when has that stopped BushCo?"


Part of developing neural networks, algorithms which would provide incredibly valuable information in the war on terror, is being able to feed it incredible amounts of data. If these guys would just look at the theory behind "Total Information Awareness" and other data mining efforts, the effectiveness would be incredibly clear.

Basically you have a computer taking enormous amounts of data, and developing metrics. In order for a computer to be able to 'learn' to flag good events from bad events, there must be an enormous amount of *real* information provided to the system.

The guys in the NSA doing this research don't care that such and such information is about me or you.. we're just numbers.... we're experimental 'white noise' in their analysis. It's somewhat like Risk Management in banks... there are algorithms which will tell you "don't make this loan", even though it cannot give you verifiable reasons or evidence why. What you have is a bunch of meaningless accumulations of data which statistically suggest that X would be a bad loan to make.

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