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Monday, February 10, 2014

Death By Metadata

Posted by on Mon, Feb 10, 2014 at 11:50 AM

Journalists Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill launched The Intercept, their new digital magazine backed by billionaire Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar, last night with another story that's sure to rile the government's military and intelligence spooks. Here's the lede:

The National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes – an unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people.

What this amounts to, Scahill explains in an interview with Democracy Now! this morning, is "death by metadata." Watch the whole thing.


Comments (18) RSS

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bhowie 1
Anyone who uses Pandora or Netflix knows the reliability of algorithms. Imagine if your life depended on it.
Posted by bhowie on February 10, 2014 at 12:01 PM · Report this
Nothing like having a corporate technologist to help fight the man. That's a real left-anarchist idea, isn't it?
Posted by Jizzlobber on February 10, 2014 at 12:15 PM · Report this
I can understand using an algorithm to look for suspects, but the final judgement needs to be made by humans, in a court of law.
Posted by I have always been... east coaster on February 10, 2014 at 12:20 PM · Report this
venomlash 4
@3: This. Even for military matters, there should always be a human making the final call on whether or not to pull the trigger.
Posted by venomlash on February 10, 2014 at 12:31 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 5
@3 is correct
Posted by Will in Seattle on February 10, 2014 at 1:07 PM · Report this
Heh. The iPhone application that tracks strikes of the U.S. government's flying killer robots is called Metadata+ because Apple wouldn't allow "drone" in the name. Metadata is the signature in a signature strike.
Posted by Phil M on February 10, 2014 at 1:13 PM · Report this
@3: Judicial oversight of the executive branch--how quaint.

See also: "American Citizens Split On DOJ Memo Authorizing Government To Kill Them," February 7, 2013,…
Posted by Phil M on February 10, 2014 at 1:20 PM · Report this
NotSean 8
When it's all algorithms, there's no one to blame for a misfire. It's just a 'bug' or incomplete feature.
Posted by NotSean on February 10, 2014 at 1:45 PM · Report this
@3: I'm not sure if a final decision can be made in a meaningful way by a human, we probably need more interaction all throughout the process.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on February 10, 2014 at 1:55 PM · Report this
bhowie 10
...... Or how about just not killing people?
Posted by bhowie on February 10, 2014 at 2:02 PM · Report this
sirkowski 11
Knowing Greenwald, this must be a gross oversimplification.

Although so far drones make way less mistakes than humans piloted aircrafts.
Posted by sirkowski on February 10, 2014 at 4:50 PM · Report this
bhowie 12
@11: Drones probably have better grammar too. Where's the data to back up your claim?
Posted by bhowie on February 10, 2014 at 5:37 PM · Report this
Posted by sirkowski on February 10, 2014 at 7:34 PM · Report this
bhowie 14
@13: "So what happens when, in the near future, it is demonstrated that an AI system will only, on average, make a targeting mistake 1 time in 500, whereas humans make mistakes in targeting about 10% of the time. When that is the situation (and that day is not far off)..."
You are taking one persons speculation about the future and presenting it as evidence of accuracy "so far." There wasn't a shred of actual data in that entire piece. Try again.
Posted by bhowie on February 10, 2014 at 9:05 PM · Report this
sirkowski 15
I'll take an expert's opinion over some paranoid person on the internet, thanks.
Posted by sirkowski on February 10, 2014 at 10:23 PM · Report this
David Thompson 17
Metadata: that's what the NSA is collecting about your phone calls. Nothing to worry about, nothing at all.
Posted by David Thompson on February 11, 2014 at 4:33 AM · Report this
bhowie 18
What makes someone an expert in your eyes?

All three links use the same think-tank source, and if you dig deep you see most of their data is derived from CIA sources. The CIA is the organization responsible for the drone program, thus there is nothing trustworthy about your links.

Requiring hard data is being paranoid? Please learn some basic logic before trying to make an argument.
Posted by bhowie on February 11, 2014 at 9:23 AM · Report this

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