Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Evolution In Flatland

The bloggers are cranked about the Google version of smart tags, and they should be. Content is altered by linking but linking is what the web is about. Yet so seldom is it discussed as a purposeful act and that is really what the debate comes down to. The web is not about progress; it is about purpose and this has all the implications of every network-as-ecology article ever written.

On the other hand, some are glossing right past the ChoicePoint fiasco in which a dataMegaMart is conned out of product and opened up potentially half-a-million people to identity theft. The deeper bad news is that ChoicePoint has just purchased I2, one of the more powerful link analysis engines used for crime analysis. Had the hustlers also purchased the link profiles, they would have had not just the identities, but potentially first rate extortion opportunities and some other great behavioral data. Combine this sort of thing with surreptitious RFID scanning and you get a first rate criminal enterprise.

You see, people fear government when they should fear administrations. People think there are smart people out there in the technical community protecting them when actually the geeks are making a buck. Meanwhile, the web like life isn't evolving hierarchically into better forms but extending itself into every niche it can and aggregating these into ever larger entities. One confuses progress with proliferation. Life only propagates. So it is with the web.


Adam said...

Not knowing who I2 is, I don't know why that's scary. Could you say more about them? The i2 at i2.com is about supply chain management.

len said...


It's link analysis software used for criminal investigations among other things.

It is not scary in and of itself. I2 is a good company making a valuable product. It is the growth of the unregulated and unmonitored dataMegaMarts who are creating these profiles without the guidance that police agencies have in the form of CFAR 28 Part 23. Professional public safety agencies have both guidance and scrutiny. These dataMegaMarts don't. So it is really past time for Federal legislation. Unfortunately, under the current administration and the Patriot Act, they are doing a job that some might rather be done by private companies somewhat the way a bad divorce results in hiring a private detective because the police aren't allowed to do that kind of work.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! Could you explain CFAR 28 Part 23? Should it be extended to private agencies?

Adam said...

(Doh! That was me, Adam, again asking more questions.)

len said...



Read these.

Do I think these should be applied? Yes. We start here.

It is not governments that abuse you; these are matters of law. It is administrations. These are matters of choice.

Choose wisely. I choose law. It is the defender of the right.


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