If Terrorists Could Please Tag Their Blog Posts 'Death To America', The US Government Would Appreciate It
from the and-post-pics-of-their-hideouts-on-flickr dept
A lot of companies like to keep tabs on what people are saying about them, and with the advent of blogs, that’s been taken to a new level. It seems that the federal government wants to get on the bandwagon, as the DHS is looking to develop software that monitors publications around the globe and gauges sentiment towards the US. Officials say this could help the government identify potential threats to the country. First of all, we’d assume the government is already monitoring publications pretty closely. Second, the idea that negative sentiment towards the country is somehow a useful predictor of terrorist attacks is a bit absurd. In a sense, sure, it seems likely that regions where terrorists reside will probably correlate with places where there’s negative sentiment in the press. But what does that tell you? Such a system would probably be as effective as the complex social network analysis that concluded that many of those involved in the 9/11 attacks were associated with ringleader Mohammad Atta. Just because it’s true, doesn’t mean it’s useful.