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My hypothesis is that science will someday be able to identify sociopaths and terrorists by their patterns of Facebook and Internet use. I'll bet normal people interact with Facebook in ways that sociopaths and terrorists couldn't duplicate.

Anyone can post fake photos and acquire lots of friends who are actually acquaintances. But I'll bet there are so many patterns and tendencies of "normal" use on Facebook that a terrorist wouldn't be able to successfully fake it.

The main reason you can't fake Facebook use patterns is that you can't control how others respond to you. Good friends respond entirely differently than acquaintances, both in quantity and content. I think that sort of difference would show up.

Years ago, during my banking career, a coworker developed a program that looked through bank records for patterns suggesting possible fraud. It worked well enough that he formed his own company, sold the program to banks, and became a wealthy man. The key to the program's success is that crooks don't know there is a normal pattern and so they don't know when they violate it. I think the same would be true for Facebook. There must be dozens of normal Facebook patterns that sociopaths and terrorists wouldn't know about, and therefore couldn't fake.

I imagine that Internet usage patterns could tell experts as much about your brain as an MRI. To put it in simpler terms, if you tell me which web pages you browsed this week, I can come up with a good estimate of your odds of being a terrorist.

Do you think the government is already monitoring your Internet use pattern, if not the specific pages? If not, they will.

 
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Jun 11, 2013
I think a government which can micromanage individuals at that level is dangerous, oppressive, and scary...

Unless you have an average intellect, bland political philosophy, uninteresting personality, boring interests, and an addiction to Spongebob. You're OK.

But God help you if you read Dilbert.

This is a very bad idea, especially in light of recent news.
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 11, 2013
The two sociopaths I know don't use Facebook. One tried, but everyone she friended actually knew her - and chose not to interact with her online. They just tolerated her presence out of a sense of human decency. The other probably couldn't maintain an account. He has no real interest in other people unless he is actively trying to get something from them. That requires a certain degree of privacy. You can't groom tens of people in public and at once for future manipulation.

That probably proves your point. There is definitely a pattern here: No genuine human interaction.
 
 
Jun 11, 2013
I'm assuming you wrote this before revelation of government's PRISM program blew up?
 
 
+18 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 11, 2013
So you're saying that terrorists and psychopaths don't receive emails from their moms containing funny cat videos?
 
 
Jun 10, 2013
No, they are not monitoring usage patterns.
Yes, I'm sure they will.

They are collecting information now - we've all heard the news. I don't believe they're working on Internet usage profiles. They are probably just looking for connections, such as visiting sites associated with terrorism, but that's a long way from a profile.
 
 
Jun 10, 2013

It is absolutely true that the government should seek to reduce evil in the world. And while I tend to have a general preference for large-scale solutions in many cases, this is not one of them. We are moving towards a time when the only privacy anyone will have is in their own heads, and only there to the extent that your thoughts don't trigger some bodily reaction that your glasses or watch can measure and report. THAT IS A BAD THING.

The only way complete and forced transparency is a good thing is if you can place 100% trust in the purity of the one(s) who get to know everything. That will never be true in human terms, and, therefore, complete and forced transparency is a bad thing.

The best we can hope for is an uncomfortable balance between privacy for all and governmental effort to restrain evil. Right now, privacy is losing.
 
 
+17 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 10, 2013
For all their snooping, the Feds sure missed the Boston marathon bombers. And they even had a tip from (of all people) the Russians telling them that the ringleader was dangerous and suspect.

You're assuming competence on the part of the snoops, which is in short supply. Writing satirical posts and cartoons on American Business Practices is clearly detrimental to the state. You will soon be relocated to Re-education Camp #22. Your only hope is to fir**NSA REDACTED**
 
 
Jun 10, 2013
Do I think the government is currently analyzing every Facebook member's comments and patterns - no. Do I think they're closely monitoring every site that includes bomb making instructions or jiihad discussion groups - you betcha!
 
 
Jun 10, 2013
This sounds a lot like Vanilla Sky, with algorithm's replacing the psychics.
 
 
Jun 10, 2013
I wonder if the government will ever outlaw cash, and make you buy everything with credit cards, thus leaving an electronic trail.

Then, they could merge browsing data with the transaction data to detect when an internet loner goes out and buys 100 pounds of fertilizer or other bomb making materials.

I am not advocating it, I am just wondering if they'll do it.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 10, 2013
The only problem is that a sociopath is one who does not follow societies rules.

In my book that is an enviable outlook not something that should be punished.
 
 
+15 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 10, 2013
[Do you think the government is already monitoring your Internet use pattern, if not the specific pages?]

Are you being ironic or do you just not ever read the news?

WATYF
 
 
Jun 10, 2013
[Years ago, during my banking career, a coworker developed a program that looked through bank records for patterns suggesting possible fraud. It worked well enough that he formed his own company, sold the program to banks, and became a wealthy man. The key to the program's success is that crooks don't know there is a normal pattern and so they don't know when they violate it.]

Way to let the cat out of the bag! Now all the crooks have to do is figure out what that normal pattern is.
 
 
Jun 10, 2013
Counter Hypothesis! People will write similar software to mimic 'normal' usage. This can be run by 'non-normals' without having to understand or think about how to do it themselves. It could even generate bot friends to generate 'normal' interactions. Anything that can be analyzed for detection can be analyzed for mimicry.
 
 
 
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