It's amusing to see how papers treat the latest spying news. Here are
three consecutive headlines on a Google news list of hits:
Doesn't Confirm NSA Data Collection
Bush denies report of
spying on Americans
denies spying infringes on privacy
So which is it? Did he "not confirm" it, did he "deny"
it, or did he admit it, but deny that it infringes on privacy? Gheesh.
I haven't seen anyone comment on the overall concept, if we can call it that.
The USA Today article claimed that "the spy agency is using the
data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity."
What on earth could that mean? Are they looking for a sudden influx of calls
to Hackensack, NJ to alert them to the fact that there is a terrorist cell in
Hackensack? Is the volume of phone calls made by a handful of terrorists in
a country of 300 million people really going to cause the slightest
statistical perturbation in phone records, compared not just to the latest American
Idol vote but to practically anything else? And even if that were true,
could they really be analyzing such data in real-time rather than days, weeks,
or months later, when any use of it in "detecting terrorist activity"
would be useless?
The whole story is dubious in the extreme.