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Government databases

27. May 2008 by thebeebs 2 Comments

I've been reading in the Press recently about the UK government plans to record all UK Email, Telecom's and Internet communication and store it in one central database.

Many of the newspapers seems to be of the opinion that this is to enable government agencies to have quicker access to the communication.

That reasoning really doesn't really make much sense to me, as spending billions on developing a system when you could just use the systems that the Telecom's Companies and ISP's are legally required to have, seems like a complete waste of time.

Surely the obvious reason that the government would want to do this is to attempt some form of Social network analysis to highlight potential terrorists.

For example each communication from Person A to Person B would be considered a "Vote". The more votes a person gets the more important they are. The government would point score known terrorists and the then would count each communication as a "Vote". Lets say Person A had a score of 1000, and he called Person B. Person B would be given 10 points. If Person C was assigned 2000 points and also called Person B, Person B would receive a further 20 points, taking his total to 30 points. Person B might then call  Person A and would therefore give Person A a further 3 points resulting in a total 2003 points.

After 500 or so iterations of the dataset (which would contain all of the UK communications) you'd eventually  end up with a list of people that score very highly that are almost certainly involved with terrorism to some extent.

Its precisely the same principle that is used by Google to rank pages, although Google uses hyper links (not phone calls and emails) as the "Vote" to determine the importance of another page, the idea and the result would be the same... relevant results.

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