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> On 5/17/06, Paul Resnick <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > ***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org *****
> > It is a dumb proposition but the proportions agreeing with this view are
> > disconcerting You can add your vote to the alternative conclusions e.g SNA
> > "not a threat to democracy"
> > see http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/5/15/132328/386
> > The Dangers of Social Network Analysis
> > fyi, rick
> The question as stated in the poll is indeed silly, but in context of the
> blog post, the proposition that it's asking you to vote on is really,
> "social network analysis is powerful". So which way should you vote?
> The post argues that even if the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) *only*
> did SNA on phone records, never learning the content of individual calls,
> they could still learn enough to violate individual rights and disrupt
> Of course, all the negative examples involve additional actions beyond just
> analyzing the networks (targeting enforcement or leaks). Civil liberties
> advocates might hope to stop those actions instead of stopping the SNA.
> Personally, I think that depending on privacy (government not knowing
> things) to maintain my personal liberty or safety is a losing proposition
> these days-- we have to focus on misuse of information more than preventing
> its dissemination.
I think it's still worth it to try to control data collection efforts.
Analysts should be accountable for what they collect and do with
As for SNA, the article's thesis that "Social Network Analysis,
despite its academic and impersonal sounding name is probably the most
dangerous use of this information and is a far greater danger to our
democracy than the monitoring of individual phone calls" is a
misinterpretation. It is much easier to stop the situations the
article suggests if the results of the data analysis are all public or
if the data is never collected in the first place. Stopping data
analysis once the data is collected is much more difficult; to do so
would be like trying to stop hackers from finding holes in systems.
The correct way to protect against "hacking" is to solve security
problems proactively by education; analogously the right way to
prevent misuse of SNA I think, is to educate people about it so they
can adapt their activities so their networks can't be detected.
Of course, it's that last bit, "so their networks can't be detected",
that might cause problems. I can't think how one would even start to
go about that.
p.s. It doesn't help that 'SNA' is so similar to 'NSA'
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