***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org ***** It is my suggestion to be pretty skeptical of the ability of these types of programs, not because the *will* isn't there (it is, though I sure wish it wasn't), but because these are very difficult technical problems to pull off. Having access to a lot of data doesn't wash away the problems of telling the useful data from noise. Just because someone hangs a scary government three-letter-acronym outside their door doesn't mean they have magic bullets that give them solutions to longstanding, very difficult problems, and the incentive structures in place in government labs are not very good ones for encouraging innovative solutions to problems that the rest of the world hasn't solved. For example, they say below that the government's systems "connect the dots", but frankly, those "dots" are subject to the same problems of canonicalization, the need for ontologies to apply *semantics* to that data, data trustworthiness and cleansing, natural language processing, inference in small and noisy datasetc, etc., etc., that very small data mining projects have, but at a *much* larger scale, and *all* of those issues need to be solved for the whole system to really start making sense out of anything. IOW: it would be my estimate that these kinds of programs are much more bark than bite. Cheers, Andy, formerly of DOE research labs... Dr Andrew J Cleary Director of Algorithms R&D Visible Path Corporation [log in to unmask] -----Original Message----- From: Social Networks Discussion Forum on behalf of Barry Wellman Sent: Wed 1/25/2006 2:04 PM To: [log in to unmask] Subject: networked spyware ***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org ***** http://www.govexec.com/story_page.cfm?articleid=33212&dcn=todaysnews NSA spy program hinges on state-of-the-art technology By Shane Harris, National Journal The furor over the National Security Agency's domestic eavesdropping, authorized by President Bush, has focused largely on legal questions -- whether the NSA has the authority to spy on Americans inside the United States and whether the commander-in-chief can order the agency to do so. But that debate has largely smothered examination of how the nation's largest intelligence agency is collecting -- and analyzing -- information intercepted from hundreds, possibly thousands, of Americans. Since the 9/11 attacks, the NSA has abandoned the mantra that guided it in earlier decades -- Do not spy on Americans inside the nation's borders. Things have changed, and the NSA may be on the cusp of employing state-of-the-art technologies to uncover more information about potential terrorists, and about Americans here at home. .... the NSA has pursued cutting-edge data-mining technologies that don't just find key words but also uncover hidden relationships among data points. These technologies can even detect how a particular analyst thinks, identify what his or her biases are, and then suggest alternative hypotheses. Data-mining systems, which the NSA has publicly pursued and spent millions of dollars researching, don't just "connect the dots" but also alert analysts about which dots to connect, which to disregard, and how to connect them in ways they may never have considered. It is unclear which, if any, of these data-mining tools the NSA is using to analyze the domestic information gathered in the current eavesdropping program, but the tools themselves offer a telling look into the agency's potential to exploit what it collects, regardless of its legal basis for doing so. etc Barry _____________________________________________________________________ Barry Wellman Professor of Sociology NetLab Director wellman at chass.utoronto.ca http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~wellman Centre for Urban & Community Studies University of Toronto 455 Spadina Avenue Toronto Canada M5S 2G8 fax:+1-416-978-7162 To network is to live; to live is to network _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message. _____________________________________________________________________ SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.