Social networks, data mining, and intelligence


The uproar over the phone calls records collected by the National Security Agency to search for terrorist activity is actually a network phenomenon. Supposedly the numbers called by tens of millions of Americans have been provided by AT&T, BellSouth, and Verizon to the NSA. I have no doubt that the analysis techniques used on this data were primarily network mapping, using software such as Netmap, which I described in an earlier article on social networks and intelligence applications. Searching for patterns in this data is a network analysis application, and the state of the art is pretty good now. So as long as the government (or whoever) can get sufficient data, the patterns and anomalies of your life will be evident.