Intelligence: Damned Either Way


March 14,2008: Without much fanfare (they prefer it that way) the NSA (National Security Agency) and CIA are shifting efforts to data-mining and the monitoring of text based communications (email and texting). The reason is simple; people are using text more than voice these days, even on telephones (which kids use more for texting than voice). The intel agencies have a head start here because, over the last two decades, marketing firms have been developing powerful software for searching through massive amounts of any electronic text, for anything useful. Corporations now use this to keep it clean, and honest, in corporate email systems. Police and lawyers are now using this software to either find criminals or, in the case of lawyers, a crime they can sue someone for.

The major problem the intel people have in using this stuff is political and media backlash. The politicians and media pundits make a big stink about privacy issues, conveniently ignoring the commercial use of these tools for over a generation. Nevertheless, the intelligence agencies have to jump through hoops over the privacy thing, and then get back to work. If it terrorists pull off an attack that data-mining could have prevented, guess who gets hung out to dry.


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