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Barry, et. al.,
Actually lot of what the NSA does with SNA they learned from academics and practitioners. Quite a few people on this list, including me, were invited to Washington DC, after 9/11, by various 3-letter agencies to guest lecture and present --> exactly how do you do this thing called social network analysis? They took that knowledge, added it to what they already knew, adapted it to very large data sets and out came PRISM and other assorted programs.
Here is a blog post I wrote that shows how retirees at Fortune 500 companies can be analyzed "similar" to terror suspects... the NSA calls it "contact chaining" and we call it social circle, network neighborhood, influence cluster, 2-step degree, reach, etc. etc. Practitioners like me were using this 2-step neighborhood approach with business clients with great success back in the early 1990s!
Whether it is finding bad guys or SMEs (subject matter experts) SNA can be used and mis-used. No one is yelling at Microsoft because Excel is being used by drug cartels and child smugglers.
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