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Sunday, May 28, 2006


Data mining

Data mining and surveillance are certainly important issues, but they're not "my" issue, so this will be a short post. I just wanted to alert interested readers to this article from "The Newspaper of Silicon Valley," the San Jose Mercury News. It's all about the technology involved, and about, among other things, software that can sift through every Internet packet passing through a hub, reassemble them into their original form including e-mail, files, or phone calls, and then analyze them. If the subject interests you, the article will.

One warning. Here in the U.S. it's Memorial Day weekend, and a certain kind of activity is very common. But folks, when you mail out email invitations to your friends to invite them to your party, be careful of what words you use:

For example, "if a terrorist is planning a bombing, they might say 'Let's have a barbecue,'" said Norris. "The software can detect if the word 'barbecue' is being used more often than usual."
Oops. I just used the word twice! And, so did each of you as you read this post! Quick, hide!

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Sigmund Freud (!) said that. Sometimes "a cigar" is a false positive. I said that (stealing from Bob Dylan's Talkin' World War III Blues).

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