Lies and Stats (Again)
Crypto star and security maven Schneier trots out an academic ally to beat the “data mining is bad” horse:
Floyd Rudmin, a professor at a Norwegian university, applies the mathematics of conditional probability, known as Bayes’ Theorem, to demonstrate that the NSA’s surveillance cannot successfully detect terrorists unless both the percentage of terrorists in the population and the accuracy rate of their identification are far higher than they are. He correctly concludes that “NSA’s surveillance system is useless for finding terrorists.”
The surveillance is, however, useful for monitoring political opposition and stymieing the activities of those who do not believe the government’s propaganda.
Oh yeah, nothing but pure research in this baby, no bias here . . .
You can read the rest at the link above but you’ve heard the story before: secret government programs are stupid and bad. Their major assumptions? That one and only one technique is in play, and that a lot of nothing is better than a little something. Their alternatives? Zippy.