Cory Doctorow: Our dangerous statistical ignorance

Terrorism is a lot less common than one in a million and automated “tests” for terrorism ”“ data-mined conclusions drawn from transactions, Oyster cards, bank transfers, travel schedules, etc ”“ are a lot less accurate than 99%. That means practically every person who is branded a terrorist by our data-mining efforts is innocent.

Cory appears to be complaining about the statistical ignorance of “others” at same he is displaying his own statistical ignorance. His primary complaint is that the security agencies are branding people as terrorists with inadequate information gleaned from “statistics”. He goes on to voice his fear that the security agencies are rushing to judgement based solely on these statistics and yet that is exactly what Cory is doing to the security agencies with his choice of statistical gleanings. He is using his own selection of statistics to condemn the entire investigative process used by the security agencies. Cory’s condemnations without corroborating evidence are exactly what he does not want the security agencies to do with data about us. Oops! Sorry Cory! You are probably not their role model! My guess is that statistics is just of one of many tools the security agencies are using to identify terrorist suspects.

Cory Doctorow: Our dangerous statistical ignorance | Technology |