Report calls data-mining expensive, ineffective

Government-sponsored mining of databases for information is costly, ineffective at catching terrorists and threatens citizens' privacy rights, a new Cato Institute study claims.

The statistical likelihood of false positives is so high that the practice "will inevitably waste resources and threaten civil liberties," according to authors Jim Harper, Cato's information policy studies director, and IBM researcher Jeff Jonas.

Data mining was dubbed a key tool in the war on terror after al Qaeda's attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, with federal agencies arguing that comprehensive monitoring of personal data would assist in tracking terrorists. The method relies on "pattern-based analysis" of private data from large numbers of people, but the technology needed to obtain precise results does not exist, the study found.

"Better interagency information-sharing, investigatory legwork, in pursuit of genuine leads, and better training are what the 9/11 story most clearly calls for," Harper and Jonas argued.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.