Sunday, February 05, 2006

NSA domestic snooping is counter-productive

A fascinating insight from an ex-NSA staffer on the problems with applying traffic analysis tools to 300-terabyte databases of major tele­communications companies' customer records (via I, Cringely):

"I'll tell you what I think the most troubling thing about all this is. It's easy to see whatever pattern you're looking for. It's like curve fitting in the stock market — looks beautiful historically and maybe even in the short run, but it's a disaster in the making. So we have these guys running the country who saw a non-existent pattern in Iraq that justified a war … and now we're going to give them software that will make it easy to create the illusion of patterns of conspiracy."

And boy, are they working on the software… With entirely predictable results.

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