Data-mining program dropped
Known as ADVISE and begun in 2003, the Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight and Semantic Enhancement program was developed by the department and the Lawrence Livermore and Pacific Northwest national laboratories for use by many DHS components, including immigration, customs, border protection, biological defense and its intelligence office.
The problems: They tested it for two years with real data instead of made-up data, violating privacy rules; and analysts found it "cumbersome" to use. Translation: it didn't work as intended.
Which has always been my problem with data-mining. It's great in theory, and I have no philosophical problem with it if personally identifiable information is protected. But the privacy worries are real -- this was the second data-mining project to violate privacy rules -- and connecting the dots turns out to be far more difficult than envisioned.
We should keep working on such systems to perfect them. But there should be two caveats: a sort of "proof of concept" that data-mining actually works, and strict privacy protections so that ordinary people don't find their data being bandied about by government bureaucrats.
data-mining, politics, midtopia