Monday, March 13, 2006

Can network theory thwart terrorists? (NY Times)

Yesterday's NY Times Magazine featured the story, "Can network theory thwart terrorists?" I like the concluding paragraph, which says in so many words, "probably not." But network theory certainly can help us understand how terrorists continue to organize successfully against the US even when our military is doing a fair job of downsizing the terrorist leadership hierarchy.

The story also suggests how network theory underlies the disputed US goverment wiretapping of its own citizens without court approval. When wiretapping involves not focused surveillance of one person, but superficial monitoring of huge numbers of people (similar to Enronic), what does court approval mean, exactly?

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