More on Data Mining, Terrorism and Privacy

Data Mining Still Needs a Clue to Be Effective [pdf]

In the two decades or so since software scientists began “mining” computerized databases for information they were never designed to yield, the sophistication of their techniques has increased dramatically.

And although marketing companies today — especially with the advent of the Internet — can routinely predict who you will vote for, where you will eat dinner and, most of all, what products you will buy, experts say it is far less clear whether security agencies can sift mounds of data to track down terrorist networks — unless they start with a useful lead.

[…] “Even if one out of 10 searches is a hit, the technique is useful,” one expert said. “But one out of 1,000 or one in 1 million?” In these cases, experts suggest, maybe the technician would be more cost-effective by searching something besides phone logs.

So, is that an excuse to collect more data, or to change tactics and focus a bit more on pure investigation? Which strategy do you expect we’ll see coming down the road?