Friday, June 07, 2013

Dean Abbott Featured in "Popular Mechanics" On-Line Article

Our own Dean Abbott has been consulted for an on-line Popular Mechanics article, "Why the NSA Wants All That Verizon Metadata" (Jun-06-2013), by Glenn Derene. Since the initial report connecting the NSA with Verizon, details have emerged suggesting similar large-scale information-gathering by the American government from other telecommunication and Internet companies.

Some applications of data mining to law enforcement and anti-terrorism problems have clearly been fruitful (for detection of money laundering, for instance, which is one source of funding for criminal and terrorist organizations). On the other hand, direct application of these techniques to plucking out the bad guys from large numbers of innocents strikes this author as dubious, and has long been criticized by experts, such as Bruce Schneier. What's plain is that people in democratic societies must remain vigilant of the balance of information and power granted to their governments, lest the medicine become worse than the disease.

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