Tracking terrorists with Unintended Information Revelation

From “New search engine to help thwart terrorists“:

With news that the London bombers were British citizens, radicalised on the streets of England and with squeaky-clean police records, comes the realisation that new mechanisms for hunting terrorists before they strike must be developed.

Researchers at the University of Buffalo, US, believe they have discovered a technique that will reveal information on public web sites that was not intended to be published.

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) are supporting the development of a new search engine based on Unintended Information Revelation (UIR), and designed for anti-terrorism applications.

UIR supposes that snippets of information – that by themselves appear to be innocent – may be linked together to reveal highly sensitive data.

… “A concept chain graph will show you what’s common between two seemingly unconnected things,” said Srihari. “With regular searches, the input is a set of key words, the search produces a ranked list of documents, any one of which could satisfy the query.

“UIR, on the other hand, is a composite query, not a keyword query. It is designed to find the best path, the best chain of associations between two or more ideas. It returns to you an evidence trail that says, ‘This is how these pieces are connected.'”