When I saw the title of this article, I immediately thought of biology and how our experience is on the huge or macro, if you will, level. We've got to watch organisms as the exist in their natural states, but it's also important to take them apart and study their components. We need to learn what microscopic activities make the readily observable activities possible.
Queesy stuff there sometimes, eh. If you do that with living animals, it's called vivisection and it brings to mind thoughts of Mengele and the Dark Ages with which his "practice" was intertwined.
But if you cut into the "technological" lives of humans, you don't necessarily destroy or injure them.
Then why, when I have "nothing to hide", do I still get kinda queesy about having my "technological life" cut into whilst I'm still using it. I'm pretty sure that a big part of that is that I've no reason to trust the cutters. Even if I did, it would sure be nice to know there was something to prevent them from accidentally going too far. I'm not too sure the current cutters care about it though...
Monday, June 19, 2006; Page A08
In the two decades or so since software scientists began "mining" computerized databases for information they were never designed to yield, the sophistication of their techniques has increased dramatically.
And although marketing companies today -- especially with the advent of the Internet -- can routinely predict who you will vote for, where you will eat dinner and, most of all, what products you will buy, experts say it is far less clear whether security agencies can sift mounds of data to track down terrorist networks -- unless they start with a useful lead.
More than a month has passed since USA Today reported that the National Security Agency had amassed a database of 2 trillion telephone calls since 2001, ostensibly as a tool to hunt al-Qaeda operatives.
Details of the NSA's activities remain unclear, but data mining experts say they are puzzled about how the information might be used. It would work best, they say, when investigators can trace telephone numbers of known suspects and build a web of contacts, in much the same way police use phone records to track drug traffickers.
But to discern suspicious call patterns from lists of dialed numbers, they will have to dig past the raw data into callers' identities, and, in the vast majority of cases, will find they have simply tapped into networks of law-abiding people involved in daily routines. This approach, several experts said, raises privacy questions even as it wastes time.