October 8th, 2008
07:59 AM ET

The problem with tracking terrorists

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/07/airport.jpg]

Two "data mining" and "behavior detection" techniques that the federal government wants to use to track potential terrorists lack scientific credibility and pose "enormous potential" threats to the privacy of law-abiding Americans, according to a report released by the National Research Council.

Editor's note: Below are highlights from a National Research Council report criticizing U.S. strategies to fight terrorism. Read the report here.

"There is not a consensus within the relevant scientific community nor on the committee regarding whether any behavioral surveillance or psychological monitoring techniques are ready for use at all in the counter terrorist context given the present state of the science."

"Modern data collection and analysis techniques have had remarkable success in solving information related problems in the commercial sector... but such highly automated tools and techniques cannot be easily applied to the much more difficult problem of preempting a terrorist attack, and success in doing so may not be possible at all."

"Collecting and examining to inhibit terrorists inevitably conflicts with efforts to protect individual privacy"

Filed under: 360° Radar
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Ron , West Coast

    Just go to 1600 Pennsylania Ave. , the terrorist`s are all there .

    1. Geo. W. Bush 2. Dick Cheney 3. Condi Rice

    Ex- Officials – Donald Rumsfeld , Richard Perl , and all of the rest of those enablers and misinformation menions in the special plans unit formed by Dick Cheney .......

    October 9, 2008 at 2:38 am |
  2. Arachnae

    Why not give it a try first before downing it before it’s even been given a chance? It can’t hurt anything and if it doesn’t work move on from there.

    Because once it's in place, what are the odds you'll ever get the authorities to give it up? How long has Drew Griffin been trying to get off the Terrorist Watch List again?

    October 8, 2008 at 1:30 pm |
  3. Camina T. in Arroyo Grande CA

    Protesters sworn to nonviolence like those working for GREENPEACE are already considered terrorists by faulty data mining and behavior detection tech employed by the government and police. Locally we had a biologist accused of being a terrorist by police for nonviolently protesting the destruction of trees used as roosts for night herons. To find a real violent terrorist who is a real threat to national security you have to have a certain edge on reality the government and the police sometimes don't have. I mean finding real terrorists by minning Planned Parenthood data is not as likely as if you minned data on violent Pro-Life groups right?

    October 8, 2008 at 1:08 pm |
  4. Cindy

    No one really knows if this technique of tracking terrorists will work or not. Why not give it a try first before downing it before it's even been given a chance? It can't hurt anything and if it doesn't work move on from there.


    October 8, 2008 at 9:30 am |