“Would NSA surveillance have stopped 9/11 plot?” Effective Counterterrorism and the Limited Role of Predictive Data Mining by Jeff Jonas and Jim Harper http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=6784 While this 2006 paper primarily focused on highlighting the limited role of predictive data mining towards counter-terrorism — this paper also presents evidence that 9/11 could have been averted without the currently contested meta-data collection program OR even new technology, for that matter. I was working with watch lists, private and publically available data immediately after 9/11 in attempts to assist our nation … as such many of the insights presented in the “Hiding in Plain Sight” section are largely based upon my first hand experience. That said … in my opinion, while “more data (e.g., population-wide meta data collection) could be helpful in uncovering criminal activity” — this was not essential to detect and possibly preempt 9/11. And even if such data was provably helpful, is it really constitutional? Hence the vibrant debate … Jeff Jonas
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