Bruce Schneier’s article in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, “We’re giving up privacy and getting little in return,” estimates the false-positive and false-negative rates for the NSA telephone data-mining program, and concludes that it is “clearly ridiculous.”
…The New York Times reported that the computers spat out thousands of tips per month. Every one of them turned out to be a false alarm, at enormous cost in money and civil liberties.
Finding terrorism plots is not a problem that lends itself to data mining. It's a needle-in-a-haystack problem, and throwing more hay on the pile doesn't make that problem any easier. We'd be far better off putting people in charge of investigating potential plots and letting them direct the computers, instead of putting the computers in charge and letting them decide who should be investigated.
By allowing the NSA to eavesdrop on us all, we're not trading privacy for security. We're giving up privacy without getting any security in return. [emphasis added]
(Thanks to The Progressive Daily Beacon for the tip.)