Under the carte blanche of the so-called “War on Terror”, a carte blance which has a seemingly infinite sweep of coverage, you can now consider your activities in social networks like MySpace to be scrutinized as well, according to an article in the June 9 online edition of New Scientist entitled “Pentagon Sets Its Sights On Social Networking Websites“.

According to Paul Marks, who wrote the piece, the NSA isn’t satisfied with the results of their massive telephone eavesdropping campaign and is looking to “connect the dots” through the much richer information source of online social networks. As Marks puts it, “Clusters of people in highly connected groups become apparent, as do people with few connections who appear to be the intermediaries between such groups. The idea is to see by how many links or “degrees” separate people from, say, a member of a blacklisted organisation.”

For an excellent analysis, read Dana Boyd’s NSA Spying on Digital Publics article.

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As I read Stowe Boyd’s essay “Moving to the Edge: The Hunter/Gatherer Future“, it reminded me of how the revolutionary impact of technology seems to have completely missed the opportunity to address the number one issue that our planet is facing today – global warming.

It seems to me that one way to keep this issue uppermost in our minds is to require a statement of environmental impact in terms that the consumer understands. Quantify it in a similar way that we do our food labels (serving size, number of calories broken down by carbohydrate, fat and protein), so when we buy our next cell phone, or DVD, we can see a numerical impact value of what it cost the environment.

Acquire

Analyze

Act

and then repeat.

The faster a company, or a government, can perform these tasks when it comes to sorting through their data files, the more effective they become. The challenge of today and the forseeable future, is learning how to sort, sift, mine, and organize petabytes of raw data to find the answers to our questions. It's almost never a case of "does an answer exist", but more often one of "how do I find it" – that's what this blog is dedicated to.

The more traditional trinity of business intelligence paradigms is organize, process and analyze (which has a military intelligence pedigree to it), however I came to appreciate the 3 A's after hearing about a very non-BI event – the death of Al Qaeda terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarkawi by American and British special forces. According to a story in The Army Times, the strategy adopted by these elite teams was to acquire intelligence, quickly analyze it and then immediately act on it. Delta Force team members, who implemented the strategy, call it "the unblinking eye".

If you can lift this strategy out of the battlefield and apply it to business intelligence and corporate performance management instead, then I'm certain you'll see an increase in the efficient and effective use of your data resources.