Saturday, March 28, 2015

Data Mining for Terrorists and Innocents

Dark Web is a program created by the students at University of Tucson. This program analyzes chat room conversations between potential terrorist threats. According to the video published by Germanjournal, this computer is capable of establishing levels of importance among chat forum users, how dangerous they are, and with whom they are in contact. Called a “right print,” Dark Web can distinguish characteristics of users, such as language or personality traits. This in turn creates a pattern, which helps identify people who could possibly be a leader of terrorist networks. Things such as violent or racist terms are keyed in on to characterize these chat room users.
I do believe that the Tucson data-mining project inappropriately violates the privacy of Internet users. However, the tradeoff to combat terrorism, in my opinion, is kind of worth it. Although the case of Professor Holm is an unfortunate one, which is worse—mistakenly accusing someone of terrorism or not catching a terrorist at all? There will be downfalls in every project, but for the safety of our communities, projects such as these are necessary.
Professor Andrej Holm’s punishments were very unwarranted. I do not believe the police were justified in their handling of him. With all of the intelligence there is out there, it is clear that Holm is not a dangerous person. In the video, he is seen outside walking with his wife and his baby. If there was so much surveillance of Holm, police should have better identified Holm as non-threatening. From his personality type and his demeanor, it seems pretty apparent that Holm is a peaceful man. As Holm described, he was thrown to the floor and subjected to officers with guns securing every area of his home. He was put into solitary confinement for three weeks. On the contrary, however, even though these conditions are harsh— what if Holm actually turned out to be a terrorist? Would these conditions be so harsh then?
When using the Web, we sacrifice our privacy. It’s just a fact and unfortunately there’s no way to avoid it. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, are aware of what you search for online and slyly use that information to advertise relevant products to you on their sidebar. With all of this talk about the NSA, we know that somewhere all of our virtual data is being recorded and stored, with the potential to be used against us in some way, shape, or form. If you ask me, if you’re not doing anything wrong, then you should try to just accept it and move on with your life. These personal interferences don’t seem to be going away any time soon.

Online surveillance software / data mining. (2008, February 21). Retrieved March 29, 2015, from

Friday, March 27, 2015

IT and Geo-Mapping Help a Small Business Succeed

Leigh Rawdon and Emily Meyer are two entrepreneurs that started a children’s clothing company called The Tea Collection. Together they built a successful small business with a nationwide presence.
The Tea Collection uses software applications such as design software, geographic data-mapping software, and a tool for retailers to restock online. The geo-mapping software helps the company grow by showing uncharted territory. It helps to target prospective business opportunities, and find areas that aren’t oversaturated children’s clothing stores. Sales reps use the results from the geo-mapping system by identifying the zip codes of target demographics. They use color-coding to signify areas to pursue and areas where they already have stores. The program also shows the landscape to help identify optimal locations.
The Tea Collection’s main technology challenge is probably their online restocking program. In order to correct this, the systems need to be integrated. This will help to prevent human error when fulfilling orders. Their geo-mapping system also seems a little dated. If there were a program that they could use to get the same results, but in a simpler way, it would most likely help the employees. For example, they could use the technology to generate reports of unexplored territory or use a sophisticated map program to view landscapes and/or potential store locations virtually.
Unless The Tea Company makes some technological changes, I do not think they will continue to grow as rapidly. There is so much new technology out there; The Tea Company needs to explore their options. Leigh Rawdon said herself that the systems need to be integrated in order for the company to work more efficiently. I also think they should consider opening an online store to the public. That way they can create a bigger audience for their already successful business. E-commerce is an extremely popular conduit for shopping in this day and age, so it’s important to take advantage of the opportunities at hand.

Geo-Mapping Technologies Help Target Sales Prospects. (2009, February 19). Retrieved March 29, 2015, from