Friday, February 10, 2006

I Am Not A Number

Mathematician John Allen calculates:
The volume of the information generated by them would make it essentially impossible to follow up on the "leads" generated. There isn't the manpower to investigate more than a tiny fraction of them in real time.

Yet another problem is the perennial problem of false positives....

For illustration, let's further assume that one out of a million American residents has terrorist ties — that's approximately 300 people — and the profile will pick out 99 percent, or 297 of them. Great. But what of the approximately 300 million innocent Americans? The profile will also pick out 1 percent of them, "only" 3 million false positives, innocent people who will be caught up in a Kafkaesque dragnet.
And I would add further that if the process is 99.9% effective, that still leave 300,000 falsely accused. Even 99.99% leaves 30,000 innocent people hauled off to Guantanamo, strapped down, and force fed with tubes down their throat when they shout out they've done nothing wrong. That's still ten times the number supposedly killed on 9/11.

Does anyone think those victims would ever be set free to tell their fellow citizens how they were treated?

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