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  1. #221  
    Quote Originally Posted by chillig35
    Here is an interesting article on data mining:
    ...Finding terrorism plots is not a problem that lends itself to data mining....
    That's probably why they're not using the call database for traditional data mining.
  2. #222  
    Quote Originally Posted by samkim
    That's probably why they're not using the call database for traditional data mining.
    ummm - then what could they possibly use it for???
    Palm m505 -> Treo600 (GSM ATT) -> Treo650 (Cingular) -> BB8700g -> BB Pearl
    "The point of living and of being an optimist, is to be foolish enough to believe the best is yet to come."
  3. #223  
    Quote Originally Posted by samkim
    This is a President giving in to Congressional pressure because he's not an autocrat (despite what those who despise him think) and can't govern without the support of Congress. Not an admirable decision at all, but I'm not sure I'd call that "playing politics."
    Sounds like a statement that keeps the president or anyone from being held accountable?

    I suppose people could always say that they were never wrong, just that they changed their mind.
  4. #224  
    Quote Originally Posted by chillig35
    ummm - then what could they possibly use it for???
    "Non-traditional" data mining. Or they could extract meta-data. There are at least a dozen terms or phrases that would allow them to technically be correct in saying that they are not data mining.

    But then again, they could get private companies to analyze, etc.
  5. #225  
    Quote Originally Posted by chillig35
    ummm - then what could they possibly use it for???
    Analysis. Fact gathering. Identifying potential suspects. Activity that requires people to pore through data.

    Data mining refers to the somewhat mechanical process of churning through a database to look for patterns and sift based on various criteria. The article you post talks about how that activity would be ineffective in catching terrorists.

    No one has said that the NSA is using the database for data mining. Not USA Today. Not USA Today's sources. And the President has specifically denied it.
  6. #226  
    Quote Originally Posted by gaffa
    Sounds like a statement that keeps the president or anyone from being held accountable?

    I suppose people could always say that they were never wrong, just that they changed their mind.
    ?

    I don't think we understand each other. What the President did was cave in to pressure. That was a bad thing, as I at least implied.

    I could be wrong, but I believe the term "playing politics" refers to a very different activity in Washington. I understand it to refer to when politicians take positions or attack other positions based not on what they believe is right, but on gaining political advantage over someone else. For example, pretending to be outraged over a minor issue or rallying opposition to a good bill because it would be a victory for the author if it passes. It's the stuff outside the expected activity of a politician in Washington, I believe. So things like fund raising and lobbying are part of politics, but they're not "playing politics."
  7. #227  
    Quote Originally Posted by samkim
    Analysis. Fact gathering. Identifying potential suspects. Activity that requires people to pore through data.

    Data mining refers to the somewhat mechanical process of churning through a database to look for patterns and sift based on various criteria. The article you post talks about how that activity would be ineffective in catching terrorists.

    No one has said that the NSA is using the database for data mining. Not USA Today. Not USA Today's sources. And the President has specifically denied it.
    people trying to pore through tens of millions of phone records??? you gotta be kidding me!
    Palm m505 -> Treo600 (GSM ATT) -> Treo650 (Cingular) -> BB8700g -> BB Pearl
    "The point of living and of being an optimist, is to be foolish enough to believe the best is yet to come."
  8. #228  
    Quote Originally Posted by gaffa
    "Non-traditional" data mining. Or they could extract meta-data. There are at least a dozen terms or phrases that would allow them to technically be correct in saying that they are not data mining.

    But then again, they could get private companies to analyze, etc.
    maybe i'm naive - but what possible methods could anyone use to sift through tens of millions of phone records to look for possible terrorist links, that does not involve data-mining? What the heck is "non-traditional" data mining anyway? And to extract meta-data don't you have to peform a data analysis and extraction (i.e. data mining) on the main database of phone numbers?

    perhaps NSA has developed psychic methods where by just looking at the tens of millions of numbers - something "jumps" out at them?
    Palm m505 -> Treo600 (GSM ATT) -> Treo650 (Cingular) -> BB8700g -> BB Pearl
    "The point of living and of being an optimist, is to be foolish enough to believe the best is yet to come."
  9. #229  
    Quote Originally Posted by chillig35
    maybe i'm naive - but what possible methods could anyone use to sift through tens of millions of phone records to look for possible terrorist links, that does not involve data-mining? What the heck is "non-traditional" data mining anyway? And to extract meta-data don't you have to peform a data analysis and extraction (i.e. data mining) on the main database of phone numbers?

    perhaps NSA has developed psychic methods where by just looking at the tens of millions of numbers - something "jumps" out at them?
    If you don't examine whole records, and every record, you probably aren't doing data mining in the "classic" sense. They may hash and sample the data, much like a search engine goes through an index. That way you don't kill a lot of time looking at every little thing. Everyone is excited about technologies like AJAX. Well it's nothing new to grab only some information and present it, without trying to process everything all at once. It really depends on the result they want. I doubt that they are looking for what has been publicly stated. "Patterns." However, if you really want patterns, then you must use "classic" data mining. The only exception I can think of is if you use AI or an inference engine to get an answer well short of looking at all of the information. In theory, you could just look at area codes or prefixes and if you don't see anything in areas of the country where you know suspects reside, you might just discount that cluster and move on without getting a lot of detail. So perhaps technically, they're not doing data mining, of course to a layman, you are. But then again, the moment you have a log of calls made from my number to other numbers without a warrant, you violated the fourth amendment because that is not publically available information. So technically, the government shouldn't have that data! It baffles me that people think there's a difference between knowing who I call everyday, vs what I talk about.

    I suspect that protecting your privacy against the government is like the war on drugs. You probably can't win, but you gotta keep on fighting! :-) Remember, a tatoo on your forearm is old technology. But mandatory ID cards for everyone is new technology. We're not that far away from it.

    "I'd be off the grid and a mountain main if I weren't addicted to cable TV!"
    Last edited by gaffa; 05/18/2006 at 10:23 AM.
  10. #230  
    Quote Originally Posted by chillig35
    people trying to pore through tens of millions of phone records??? you gotta be kidding me!
    No.

    It's easier if you start with list of known terrorists or at least suspected terrorists. You see who they called or received calls from. Is there someone who has spoken to more than one terrorist, or someone who has talked often or long with one terrorist? Bingo. You have a new potential lead. Or maybe there's an innocent explanation, which is why you have people involved to follow up. You might also look at 2 or 3 degrees of separation to see if that produces anything useful.

    So each time we capture or identify terrorists, in Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, the US, wherever, the NSA can go in to the database to see if they can identify their contacts.

    For example, if a customs agent stops a terrorist driving in from Canada, NSA can go figure out everyone the guy has spoken to from his cell phone before his associates know he's been arrrested. Imagine if you forced the govt to get a warrant before asking the phone companies for records of all the calls to or from that cell phone. And imagine how terrorists might change their behavior if you publicized the fact that the NSA had a database of phone records.
  11. #231  
    Quote Originally Posted by gaffa
    If you don't examine whole records, ...
    Most of what you describe is still data mining.
  12. #232  
    And remember, Clinton did not have "sex" with Miss L!
    It all depends on how technical on definitions we want to be.
  13. #233  
    Quote Originally Posted by samkim
    No.

    It's easier if you start with list of known terrorists or at least suspected terrorists. You see who they called or received calls from. Is there someone who has spoken to more than one terrorist, or someone who has talked often or long with one terrorist? Bingo. You have a new potential lead. Or maybe there's an innocent explanation, which is why you have people involved to follow up. You might also look at 2 or 3 degrees of separation to see if that produces anything useful.

    So each time we capture or identify terrorists, in Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, the US, wherever, the NSA can go in to the database to see if they can identify their contacts.
    the NSA already monitors all international calls to and from the USA - this database (the most recent uproar that is) is of all domestic calls within the USA. Why does the NSA need the database of ALL domestic calls - why not just look for specific leads that branch out from the suspects?

    For example, if a customs agent stops a terrorist driving in from Canada, NSA can go figure out everyone the guy has spoken to from his cell phone before his associates know he's been arrrested. Imagine if you forced the govt to get a warrant before asking the phone companies for records of all the calls to or from that cell phone.
    You're talking about specific instances of a captured suspect - in which case the NSA can instantly tap into databases without any warrants (FISA does not require that NSA to have a warrant apriori - all NSA has to do is go back afterwards and explain to the FISA court why they needed those records). It still does not justify NSA sitting on ALL phone records so that it is "easily available" whenever they need it. By that logic NSA could justify sitting on ALL possible databases (credit card, health, social security, library memberships and so on.) on the off-chance that once a suspect is identified, then it could quickly check ALL the links to others (come to think of it, how do we know that NSA already doesn't sit on all databases? hmmmm.....)

    And imagine how terrorists might change their behavior if you publicized the fact that the NSA had a database of phone records.
    Knowing that the NSA has a database on hand will not affect their behavior - they will always assume that if one of them is caught (regardless if they hear about it in time or not), then all possible traceable links (such as cell phones, emails etc.) are going to be automatically uncovered - and that would be part of their planning process.
    Palm m505 -> Treo600 (GSM ATT) -> Treo650 (Cingular) -> BB8700g -> BB Pearl
    "The point of living and of being an optimist, is to be foolish enough to believe the best is yet to come."
  14. #234  
    Quote Originally Posted by chillig35
    the NSA already monitors all international calls to and from the USA
    They may have the ability to monitor any call. They certainly don't monitor (listen to) every single call. And I'm not sure they have all international call records already, independent of this thing.

    this database (the most recent uproar that is) is of all domestic calls within the USA. Why does the NSA need the database of ALL domestic calls - why not just look for specific leads that branch out from the suspects?
    Since landline phone companies don't charge for incoming calls, they don't store incoming call records for each phone number. Since the NSA would want to find all calls TO a phone number as well, that may mean searching all the phone records of all the phone companies. That's a big deal. You can't expect a phone company to turn around a request like that in an hour, especially on a regular basis.

    Knowing that the NSA has a database on hand will not affect their behavior - they will always assume that if one of them is caught (regardless if they hear about it in time or not), then all possible traceable links (such as cell phones, emails etc.) are going to be automatically uncovered - and that would be part of their planning process.
    So you don't think they use phones to talk to each other today?
  15.    #235  
    lol... Ohh, you mean data mining, no we don't do that. I mean, "non-traditional" data mining? Well perhaps "non standard" or "non ordinary" data mining. Well I mean certainly NOT datamining in the "classic sense". That is to say that we are mining data from all your phone calls, but not .. um ...
  16. #236  
    From: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
    Music: Frank Churchill
    Lyrics: Larry Morey


    We dig dig dig dig dig dig dig in our mine the whole day through
    To dig dig dig dig dig dig dig is what we really like to do
    It ain't no trick to get rich quick
    If you dig dig dig with a shovel or a pick
    In a mine! In a mine! In a mine! In a mine!
    Where a million diamonds shine!

    We dig dig dig dig dig dig dig from early morn till night
    We dig dig dig dig dig dig dig up everything in sight
    We dig up diamonds by the score
    A thousand rubies, sometimes more
    But we don't know what we dig 'em for
    We dig dig dig a-dig dig

    Music
    Well behaved women rarely make history
  17. #237  
    Quote Originally Posted by gaffa
    And remember, Clinton did not have "sex" with Miss L!
    It all depends on how technical on definitions we want to be.
    No.

    This is not an issue of wordplay. I think I encouraged your random trajectory by saying, "traditional data mining." I meant, "data mining as anyone with the slightest clue understands it."

    Manually looking up data and analyzing it isn't data mining. What you described is. They're not doing what you described.
  18.    #238  
    lol, right, that clears it right up
  19. #239  
    Glad I could help.
  20. #240  
    interesting article ...for those of you who actually think for themselves


    SECURITY vs. PRIVACY: THE REMATCH
    By Jennifer Granick

    This month USA Today reported that the National Security Agency has been compiling and searching a massive database of Americans' telephone call records and data mining it for suspicious patterns. NPR reported that this activity was part of the same eavesdropping program The New York Times revealed in April.


    With the new revelations (which the phone companies have denied) an old debate has again reared its ugly head. Proponents of strong government say civil libertarians don't appreciate the terrorist threat, and civil libertarians say that advocates of mass surveillance don't appreciate the danger of a prying government.

    But that trade-off between privacy and security is mythological. Giving up privacy does not necessarily result in greater security, and greater security does not necessarily require a loss of privacy.

    As a country we need to move beyond this false security vs. privacy meme and craft laws that improve both -- laws that take into account the changing privacy landscape, and the indisputable need to fight terrorism.

    One piece of the answer lies in acknowledging how digital technology has upended our traditional understanding of privacy.

    In the past, a good deal of privacy was part and parcel of physical reality. For example, when I walked down the street, if no one else was there, I could assume I was unobserved, and take the time to fix my lipstick.

    But with the advent of video-surveillance cameras, this is no longer the case. A hidden camera can observe me even when I think I'm alone.

    With early analog cameras, someone needed to be watching the video feed for my privacy to be at risk. It was expensive to catalog and store videotapes, and hard to go back and find interesting stuff after the fact. With digital video cameras, however, it's cheap and compact to store the video forever. Machines assist investigators searching the videos by tagging the points where someone is moving in the frame, and eventually, perhaps, with facial-recognition software.

    That's just one example. Modern technology affects privacy in whole new ways by making information collection possible, cheap, easy, searchable, storable and aggregatable.

    Practical difficulties and expense used to be the main obstacles to government invasions of privacy. As technology wears away these obstacles, the law may be the only speed bump for government surveillance to overcome. Privacy protections in the law, therefore, need to become stronger, not weaker.

    Imposing legal hurdles to surveillance protects civil liberties by placing an independent judge in the loop, to check and make sure that there's adequate cause for investigation. But it also imposes costs that prevent a government with limited resources from pursuing the most extravagant, unlikely avenues of investigation. In general, this is a good thing.

    The United States legal system is based on the idea of circumscribed government power. Americans have historically believed that government will take advantage of its power, so we constrain the government's ability to collect information about us, and we accept the price.

    If those limitations interfere with law enforcement, so be it. For example, we suppress evidence in cases where the police search a suspect's house without a warrant, even if the evidence is incontrovertibly damning. It was collected in the wrong way.

    The truth is, American society would not work if we had perfect enforcement of the law. Approximately 11 million people illegally in the country would be deported. An equal number of rich, white teenagers from the suburbs would be in juvenile detention centers for smoking pot at Phish concerts.

    Yet, Americans may be willing to live with a certain level of drug use and car theft, but be much less willing to allow another Sept. 11. In these cases, we want different rules that make it easier, not harder, for government to search.

    Our current legal regime is set up in exactly this way. There is one set of stricter rules for spying on United States persons and investigating conventional crimes, and another set of more lax rules that allow the government to conduct surveillance for foreign intelligence and national security purposes. These laws are complex and outdated, and should be amended. But the basic scheme makes sense.

    However, in order for the scheme to work, the government not only has to follow the law, but Americans have to be sure that the government can neither overuse nor abuse the information it gets through national-security surveillance. The government can't be allowed, for example, to use the data it collects to investigate lesser crimes or under conditions that wouldn't have justified the intrusion in the first place. Any kind of surveillance program that's justified on the grounds of fighting terrorism should be strictly limited to those types of investigations, and be performed only with congressional and judicial oversight.

    Americans need to know why the government isn't following the few privacy safeguards that are already in place, and how it is using the information it collects. Then we can work on rules and implement technologies that allow government access when appropriate, and constrain it when it's not. The rhetorical debate on security vs. privacy sidetracks Americans from the more important mission of safeguarding our free society against the twin threats of tyranny and terror.
    Last edited by chillig35; 05/24/2006 at 05:45 PM.
    Palm m505 -> Treo600 (GSM ATT) -> Treo650 (Cingular) -> BB8700g -> BB Pearl
    "The point of living and of being an optimist, is to be foolish enough to believe the best is yet to come."

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