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debate response - Martin 1 Martin Pauler Professor Henge...

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Martin 1 Martin Pauler Professor Henge Ethics Info Age Monday, June 06, 2011 Debate One Response The topic of this debate was “Data mining projects involving massive governmental databases should be funded to ensure our national security”. Data-mining could play a possible role in the future of the safety of The United States of America, assuming that it is done efficiently, and the database is kept secure. Through the use of such a database, threats to the U.S. government and the people of the U.S. may be able to be thwarted, or rather effectively prevented. Data mining roots are traced back along three family lines: classical statistics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. (Ho, Luan )As you can see from the article, data-mining has in a primitive form, been around for a very long time. Slowly progressing to the form is it taking today, data-mining as a powerful, even sometimes scary, tool. It is being used by advertising companies and law enforcement alike to make otherwise nearly impossible jobs easier. Want to open a new business, or branch into a new area ad increase consumer base? According to Stacy Cowley using data-mining, despite drawbacks of time commitment in cleaning and collecting information, is “In a word: priceless.” On the other hand though, data-mining can have a severe negative impact on the value of privacy for individual citizens. In an article from USA TODAY Quest strongly opposes heavy pressure from the NSA to hand over numerous call records of their customers. “NSA representatives pointedly told Qwest that it was the lone holdout among the big
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Martin 1 telecommunications companies.” (Cauley) The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was formed to prevent the government from illegally tapping and/or eavesdropping on American citizens. However, in this case the government bypassed the FISA court, and implemented their plan directly. This would seem to be a very direct infringement on the privacy rights of many citizens, in the name of collecting data-mining information. Data-mining activities have been around for a long time, but what exactly crosses the line has yet to be defined. Another example of data-mining being used improperly is the case of Brandon Mayfield. As reported by Teresa Anderson, through data mining processes used by the FBI it was found that the suspect, Brandon Mayfield, had at one time represented a terrorist as his lawyer in a legal hearing. In addition, the mosque where he attended was frequented by other known terrorists. This combined with a partial print from a terrorist train bombing in Spain, Mayfield was marked as a terrorist by the FBI. Later, the real terrorist was caught, but not before Mayfield was held by the U.S government as a terrorist.
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