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More on the recent thread here on SNA by the NSA... interesting quote  
here...

> Here's what is most likely going on with the NSA and FISA from a  
> guy who used to work for the NSA:
>
> "What I think is going on here is that they're using social network  
> analysis. They get some numbers or endpoints of interest, and start  
> out with classical traffic analysis, which can all be done (as I  
> think you pointed out) with pen registers or their moral  
> equivalent. They look for other numbers, and follow the graph of  
> connections by transitivity.
>
> "It's well known that any graph of associations in the real world  
> tends to generate cliques, and that the clique size for a social  
> group of any sort tends to actually be fairly small. This is the  
> 'six degrees of Kevin Bacon' effect. But in a social network, there  
> will also be people with many edges coming to them, and many paths  
> in the transitive closure of the graph of their relationships, and  
> those people are often 'centers.'
>
> "In fact, just that sort of analysis was done -- after the fact --  
> of the 9/11 hijackers (in this week's links).
>
> "I would guess that the SNA is used to identify people of interest  
> -- although there would be some false positives, like if they all  
> rented apartments from the same rental management firm, or all  
> ordered from the same we-deliver falafel place. But someone who  
> shows up in the transitive network of a lot of calls from overseas,  
> and is also a high edge-count in the SNA graph, is definitely  
> someone to be interested in. I wouldn't be at all surprised if  
> that's when they apply for a FISA warrant and start actually  
> intercepting."

The rest is at...

http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20060126.html

Valdis

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