By Claire Bernish
A recent examination of National Security Agency documents previously released by whistleblower Edward Snowden shows that the CIA and other U.S. agencies may be killing innocent people as a result of their reliance on metadata.
The NSA’s SKYNET is a program that surveils phone metadata in order to track suspected terrorists. Through SKYNET, the security agency engages in mass surveillance of Pakistan’s mobile phone network, affecting 55 million people — but that’s not all. Once the data is gathered, it’s run through a machine learning algorithm that attempts to rate whether a particular individual is more or less likely to be a terrorist.
According to Human Rights Data Analysis’ executive director Patrick Ball, the NSA’s methods are “ridiculously optimistic” and “completely bullshit.” If Ball is correct, SKYNET’s methodology may be putting thousands of innocent lives in danger because they are being falsely identified as terrorists.
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