Friday, December 28, 2007

Disable Danger

Our buddies at Conspiracies R Not Us are doing some impressive work. John Ray put together an excellent discussion of Able Danger, the Pentagon's data mining program that some claim identified Mohamed Atta prior to his arrival in the United States.

Unfortunately for the conspiracy theorists, another key element of any data mining operation is having a large population to choose from. In the business world where data mining is a practical tool, often an entire “set of all consumers of X” are analyzed – potentially, millions of people.(5) Unfortunately for the Able Danger crew, their target population (extremists who rely on the Internet for dissemination of propaganda and for organizational coordination) had only had access to the Internet for about two and a half years, since 1996 when the Internet first exploded on the global stage.

Excellent analysis of a complicated issue!