To continue on the post of yesterday, I want to write a few words about Jonas and Harper paper. In this paper, the authors argue that data mining is definitely not useful against terrorism. The first sentence which avoid all confusion about their position is: “Though data mining has many valuable uses, it is not well suited to the terrorist discovery problem“. According to the authors, data mining “would waste taxpayer dollars, needlessly infringe on privacy and civil liberties, and misdirect the valuable time and energy of the men and women in the national security community“.
I think that we need to distinguish between the usefulness of data mining for terrorism (i.e. can we extract meaningful knowledge from data) and the possibility to use it in everyday life (i.e. is it effective, too expensive, not ethical?). In the paper, authors only argue that data mining for terrorism waste time and money. Although they have good arguments, they are not directly related to technical aspects of data mining.
I think the discussion is open. Since I’m not in the domain of terrorism data, you should perhaps have a look at Jonas’ weblog for details.