NSA Technique? Something About JSTOR?

Other than the summer sweeps (which ended day before yesterday)  and the George Zimmerman whip-up of emotions and the royal diaper king, what do you think has been going on at the mentally subcutaneous level of thick-headed America?  Glad you’re still bright enough to be curious.  Apparently you’re resistant to emotional frenzy-whipping…which is a good thing.


We’ve got a real who-done-it going today watching reports of the continuing investigation into the death (Could it have been  a murder made to look like suicide?) of Aaron Swartz who was the genius inventor of RSS and Reddit.


In the latest episode, reports WhiteOutPress.com seems MIT has jumped onboard the government cover-up bandwagon in fighting a Freedom of Information Act (FOI) request from Wired which is trying to get information about the case.  Kevin Poulsen, editor of Wired is, to my way of thinking, a true patriot to asking hard questions of the government in the Swartz case and demanding documentation.


The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution is unambiguous:  “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”


Except:  The FISA (foreign intelligence surveillance act) Court gets to keep secrets and obviously by claiming “terrorism” the word foreign is being interpreted fast and loose in order to cast a wide net over….everyone.  Oh, and since it’s all secret, no appeal to public courts…so yes, boys and girls, there is a shadow government.


As the above-linked article shows, the prosecution/persecution of  Swartz really ramped up after he released a large chunk of JSTOR documents.  This is only meaning if you understand that this is a HUGE repository of academic studies by America’s best and brightest – information too hot to be released to the general plebes like you and me.


The judge in the case has given the government until August 5 to produce a timeline for release of documents, but an intelligent bet is that the government will “play for time” on this one and will have to be wrangled  back into court by Wired sometime in mid-August to explain why they haven’t released the documents.


OK, fine as far as it goes…which isn’t far enough.  What would be the “big deal” about release of JSTOR documents?  For a little more sense of what’s going on, I’d suggest a back issue of TechDirt over here under the headline “JSTOR freely released public domain papers that Greg Maxwell already Freed...” 


“OK, why such a big deal?


Good question:  What could JSTOR have possibly leaked to the public that would have caused such an uproar?


My #1 guess is that there is a key conceptual framework about “Big Data” in there which would only have one purpose:  Massive spying on the [innocent] American public.  Contravening the 4th Amendment in the process.


Specifically I would be looking at advanced server integrations which would be applicable to that new NSA super-farm being built south of Salt Lake City when another side bet is that someone has a huge advance in “named-entity recognition” that will literally give the government key insight into what you’re thinking, you threat to freedom, you, lol.


[Forbes has already leaked the blueprints of the mega-server farm, which has to be an award-winner for Kashmir Hill’s investigative work.]


Or, the released data might have contained computationally useful information about linguistics.  A head-wrap may be seen in “Phrase clustering for discriminative learning”  Mix up learning agents and massive Big Data warehousing and now you’ve got absolute control of a population (formerly a “free” country.)


While you’d think MIT would have “clean hands” in this, remember they are one of the world’s leading computer theory and linguistics centers and the public blow-back could be significant toward the school if it were to be revealed (all hypothetically, mind you) that maybe they were working with the government (NSA et alia) on computation approaches to spying on protecting Americans.  Why else would they hold that school staff could be placed in some kind of jeopardy by the release of information?


I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately in the Big Data arena and it’s obvious to anyone who reads a few books what’s likely going on.  You might start with Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think, $20, Amazon and for the theoretical implications.  Next reread The Commanding Heights : The Battle for the World Economy: What comes into focus is that there is a subtle shift in managing populations away from what is now fairly direct mass media manipulation and toward “thought inference as reflected by probabilistic data analysis.


Soft mass-control versus hard personal-control is another way to look at it.


Another insight arises as Arvind Sathi notes in Big Data Analytics: Disruptive Technologies for Changing the Game  “There were two types of leaders: Disseminating leaders who were connected to their groups by outgoing calls and authority leaders who were connected by a larger proportion of incoming calls…”  [emphasis added- Ure]


While Sathi’s reference was to IBM Research’s work on (telephone) call centers, the data analysis case may likely be generalized when looking at a much larger universe of Big Data which includes not only verbose speech (SVIR/voice->text followed by NER thence SQL scoring layers) but also text (twits and emails) plus social mapping data (social media).  Toss in your actual income (bank records) and expenses (bank/credit card records) along with call data (time/location/social maps) and there ain’t much about you government can’t already “know.”   


While great research, there is obvious extensibility into how humans communicate in general such that the inbound/outbound call ratios of telephone call centers are likely extensible to your personal inbound and outbound email, shared links/favorites, and even things like your Facebook postings after running through NER.  Which is why we explained additional mechanics of this to Peoplenomics readers recently [subscribe].


These latter concerns are particularly troublesome to news/analytics types like Ure’s truly who might be classes as “disseminating leaders” which means, under the emergent new laws of sociopolitical control via human communications, that you are roughly 28.5 times more likely to send a copy of something read on  UrbanSurvival on to some of your friends than general non-specific web-based information.


Put another way, there’s a whole new class of quantifiable social behaviorism being discovered by Big Data and government is trying to get there first by loading up the Federal Data Hub with as much data and inferences about YOU and possible (never mind legal, because that’s whatever congress says it is).  It’s clear that they’re trying to get as much of the baseline infrastructure in place as possible before the public  rebels and demands change from Congress.


So the two battlefronts to note this week are the battle lines in the Swartz case on the one hand and the heavy-handed NSA green light approved by 217 traitorous members of Fools on the Hill whose only concern with Big Data is how it can be translated into campaign finance income.  Which is why out of state money is so important to congresspersons.


Oh…..there is one other slim motivation for all the tensions over the JSTOR records release:  The data may have revealed the location of the other of the moon’s sentinel’s (one of which is likely adjacent to the crater Aristillus)…but by comparison that’s a very low probability case.  Besides, if you really wanted to know the answer to that one, you could get a ham radio license and test when the MUF is below 13 MHz  using lunar ephemerides and 20 meters.  But implications of LDE’s is another topic for another day…Maybe the secret of why we’re not going back to the moon is in there, too.


But seriously (and more so than usual) a word-frequency (topic-frequency) analysis of the JSTOR data would like reveal at least the primary domain probability of the contentious materials.  Sorted to source_school=MIT but then you’d probably already figured that.  If you have access, another tack would be index comparison between public and non-public…but then you couldn’t tell me.  But, such is life.


Why subject-domain hunting is more fun than snipe hunting, ain’t it? 


The federales meantime have started a big push to secure all web passwords it seems


Well, enough deep thinking for this morning, shall we get back to the distractions, then?


Reinventing Science

Big headlines this morning about how MIT neuroscientists successfully planted false memories in the brain.  Refer to previous story.


Oh…and product marketers have been doing this for years…

Say, here’s something of interest on an MIT server that I  bet’cha didn’t know.  Infers a link between a certain widely used ag chemical and autism rates…


More After This…




Weiner Week Continues

As we began this week with an account of national hog dog day, little did we ever imagine (OK, maybe we did, wanna make something of it?) that by week’s end we would still be up to our headlines in Weiners.


Yet here we are…and the Weiner du jour is Mrs. Weiner, aka Huma Abedin who is getting a lot of questions about how she could hold a part time tax payer paid job for Hillary (don’t make me say it) at the State Department while pulling in more than $300-large from the same outfit ol’ Bill’s on the board of…


My, things are getting nasty….no, make that nastier.


(Is that an iPhone in your pocket or are you just glad to read my column?)


Capitol Vandalism

Meantime, we have to take note of the Washington Park Police reporting the Lincoln Memorial was vandalized overnight – doused with some green paint.  What the significance (if any) of this is remains to be seen.


Christie Sells Out?

I’m not exactly sure why a rise in Libertarians is dangerous, except that it might present both corporate-owned parties with an uncomfortable number of literate voters to address, but whatever the reason New Jersey gov and presidential wannabe Chris Christie has launched a line of hard spew towards ’em.


What I’d be penciling out is which group will cut a campaign check to the Christie funds on this one, since these kinds of things usually are a business model at some level.


Social Marketing

Since America has been overcome with a disease the Centers for Disease Control doesn’t list (political correctness disease), we sort of doubt that anyone will have the nerve to try in America what’s being done in baby diaper land, but the Brits have put up signs telling illegal immigrants to leave – as wandering billboards which threaten arrest.


Cool…but the reason we can’t do that here in ‘Merica is simple:  We need new low income workers to exploit, to keep the minimum wage low, and to pay into us gray’s Social Security fund since it’s been robbed by previous generations of Washingtonian crooks.   Am I the only one who gets this?  Everything’s a business model!


Run the freakin numbers…sheesh.


To Market, To Market…

Since our main shtick around here in making money and some dandy longwave economics research, we can’t help but notice that the European Central Banks Mario Draghi is now a year into his plan to save Europe from financial collapse.  Gloomberg has a fine recap of how that’s going.


A down open to US markets seems likely at the opening, as we await a consumer confidence number which is more of less meaningless – it’s a final revision is all.  But any reason to rally from down, huh?


The weekly money stocks report from the Fed shows 9.6% annual increase in M1 (3 months annualized) while M2 is running 5.3% annualized off the 3-month rate.


You go Ben…push that wet string!



More after this…