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July 18, 2013

The Third Degree: NSA Now Admits Surveillance Extends Three Degrees Away from Actual Suspected Terrorists

Earlier they had said their eavesdropping/or whatever they're doing is limited to two degrees of separation: Once they suspect someone of being a terrorist, they monitor him, plus the people he communicates, plus the people who the people he communicates with communicate with. Two steps away from the suspect himself.

Now they confess it's three steps away.

This isn't a minor thing: A study by the University of Milan found that everyone on the internet is connected to everyone else by an average of 4.74 steps. It's not that Kevin Bacon can be linked to everyone else by 6 degrees of separation; it's that most everyone can be so linked.

When you start with your (say) 40 connections, then extend that to 40 connections of each of those 40 connections, and then 40 connections of the 40 connections of the 40 connections, well, that's 64,000 people being monitored for each actual suspected terrorist. (This assumes, incorrectly, that all of those connections are fresh and not duplicative of each other; but you get the sense of scale. Even assuming 75% of those connections are duplicative, we're still taking 10,000+ under surveillance for each actual suspected terrorist ).


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posted by Ace at 02:21 PM

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