Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1983326
 


 



Governmental Data Mining and its Alternatives


Tal Zarsky


University of Haifa - Faculty of Law

December 12, 2011

Penn State Law Review, Vol. 116, No. 2, 2011

Abstract:     
Governments face new and serious risks when striving to protect their citizens. Data mining has captured the imagination as a tool which can potentially close the intelligence gap constantly deepening between governments and their targets. The reaction to the data mining of personal information by governmental entities came to life in a flurry of reports, discussions, and academic papers. The general notion in these sources is that of fear and even awe. As this discourse unfolds, something is still missing. An important methodological step must be part of every one of these inquires mentioned above - the adequate consideration of alternatives. This article is devoted to bringing this step to the attention of academics and policymakers.

The article begins by explaining the term “data mining,” its unique traits, and the roles of humans and machines. It then maps out, with a very broad brush, the various concerns raised by these practices. Thereafter, it introduces four central alternative strategies to achieve the governmental objectives of security and law enforcement without engaging in extensive data mining and an additional strategy which applies some data mining while striving to minimize several concerns. The article sharpens the distinctions between the central alternatives to promote a full understanding of their advantages and shortcomings. Finally, the article briefly demonstrates how an analysis that takes alternative measures into account can be carried out in two contexts. First, it addresses a legal perspective, while considering the detriments of data mining and other alternatives as overreaching “searches.” Second, it tests the political process set in motion when contemplating these measures. This final analysis leads to an interesting conclusion: data mining (as opposed to other options) might indeed be disfavored by the public, but mandates the least scrutiny by courts. In addition, the majority’s aversion from the use of data mining might result from the fact that data mining refrains from shifting risk and costs to weaker groups.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 46

Keywords: Privacy, Data Mining, Profiling, National Security, Law Enforcement, Prediction, political process theory, random selection

Accepted Paper Series





Download This Paper

Date posted: January 12, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Zarsky, Tal, Governmental Data Mining and its Alternatives (December 12, 2011). Penn State Law Review, Vol. 116, No. 2, 2011. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1983326

Contact Information

Tal Zarsky (Contact Author)
University of Haifa - Faculty of Law ( email )
Mount Carmel
Haifa, 31905
Israel
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 1,062
Downloads: 195
Download Rank: 92,722

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo1 in 0.390 seconds