Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Clues in the Numbers?

PostedMay 21, 2006

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Randy Atkins:  The NSA is reportedly trying to fish terrorist activity from a sea of phone number connections using "social network analysis."  Valdis Krebs develops software based on this "mathematical sociology."  

Valdis Krebs:  It's a way of modeling how people behave in groups and how people interact in groups and how people form groups.
Randy Atkins:  Krebs says our phone call records will reveal lots of interesting patterns but, without a suspect to focus on, innocent family reunions can look like terrorist plotting.

Valdis Krebs:  There is no pattern that terrorists have that is obviously different than anybody else.

Randy Atkins:  Krebs says determining if you're a bad guy will require looking beyond your phone calls.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP Radio.