Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

I study people, technology, and the worlds they make

How not to do data mining

From CQ Political, via Firedoglake:

[T]he FBI sifted through customer data collected by San Francisco-area grocery stores in 2005 and 2006, hoping that sales records of Middle Eastern food would lead to Iranian terrorists.

The idea was that a spike in, say, falafel sales, combined with other data, would lead to Iranian secret agents in the south San Francisco-San Jose area.

[To the tune of Groove Armada, “Inside My Mind (Blue Skies),” from the album “Vertigo“.]

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