Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Domestic Communication Surveillance and False Positive Problems

Many folks are challenged by the mental concept of domestic surveillance. They know they've done nothing wrong, and probably never will, however they don't like the idea of it one bit, and they don't want to accidentally be falsely accused, mistaken for someone else, or be put on the proverbial "watch list" and yes, who can blame them. Proponents say, if you are doing nothing wrong, don't worry about it. Well, that sure smacks in the face of the social "trust" contract between citizens and their governments. Okay so let's talk.

Not long ago, someone asked me if I seen the piece in Wired Magazine about domestic surveillance. Well, it turns out I had, you see I did read that particular articles amongst many others, this one the "Danger Zone" section of Wired Magazine. The article explained how pairs of words, groups of words, and other strategies were used to judge it there was actually a threat or not to our national security. And realize this is a computer doing it all, deciding if you are good or bad, something that last time I checked Santa Clause sucked at - after all we have an awful lot of bad kids getting some great toys each year.

Still, understand how and why all this works, you see, it's all about context. In fact, way back when at our think tank I'd come up with a concept to judge voice communication with subscripts and post scripts after every word for intensity, vibrational reverberations, elevated volume, emphasis, accent. Each one with piece with a number, so the word "bomb" might have been bomb "23643" as a subscript, thus lower intensity for each, thus, typical conversation, not passionate, not used as action word, but with emphasis, so it might be someone talking to a friend about a news event, not someone planning something.

Post scripts could be used for combinations of words, all based on a gazillion phone calls, from various regions of the world, with various actors, players, or just plain citizens talking. Thus, the computer system reads all the information and categorizes it, those with high numbers are red-flagged nothing else, or that type of talk with someone on a "watch list" a real one, not some BS computerized generated list, or crony capitalism list where competitors are placed or political challengers are put for fear.

This is perhaps a good way to eliminate as many false positives as possible, along with using other strategies to double check without any human getting involved and listening in which has all sorts of other implications as well. Perhaps, I could write a book about this too, but I don't want to scare anyone, even though I realize its value to protecting the American People, the citizens fear the "Minority Report" syndrome, as well they should and like the movie;

Enemy of the State
Eagle Eye
The Net

Or even Terminator's Skynet, so what I'm saying is we shouldn't give blind trust to any government, "trust no one" in that regard, and our government should fear us lest we shut it down, not the other way around. Still, we must also realize that there are checks and balances in place to keep the NSA on the straight and narrow, so let's just make sure we have proper oversight, and demand that someone is watching the watchers at all times. Even employees and executives of the NSA agree with that, they are Americans too. Indeed, I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

Lance Winslow has launched a new provocative series of eBooks on Privacy Internet Issues. Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank; http://www.worldthinktank.net/

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