As governments and corporations collect ever more so-called information about us, as they invest in ever faster processing and ever more vast storage capacity, the data itself is becoming the problem: Fraud police buckling under mountains of data.
Fraud investigators are struggling to cope with vast quantities of data sent to them by financial institutions, meaning some crimes may go uninvestigated or even unnoticed, experts said on Wednesday. F
The issue is prompting banks and other financial institutions to ask law enforcement and regulators to share with them more of the data they have about suspicious transactions, in order to better combat fraud.
[...] Up to 300,000 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) are filed per month in the U.S., and up to 200,000 a year in the U.K., but most of those reports "disappear into a black hole" because law enforcement agencies don't have the resources to investigate each one, she said.
If another financial institution is mentioned in a report, it may not even know about the suspicious activity if the report is filed by a different institution.
At the conference in Shenzhen last week I visited the municipal police station with its massive wall of displays that enable real-time tracking of crime reports and responses, including 900 cameras spread across the city (to monitor 11 million people).
I had to ask 3 people, however, how they decided which camera they should be watching because plainly there are not enough people to monitor them all, let alone review all the gigabytes of boring video of nothing much happening, times 900. Answer, "we wait till a report comes in". Mhmm.
And then Bruce Schneier points to a report that appears to indicate that the many more CCTV cameras in the UK may not be working either.
In the end it doesn't matter how many sources of "information" there are, or how fast the processors or any other technological 'solution", the real bottleneck will be between the ears of the people responsible for deciding what is actionable information, there aren't enough such people to achieve the desired objectives, those people there are, are already overworked and under-trained and possibly politically appointed which makes them useless when the real problems hit.
To achieve anything like the kind of data processing the pollies think they need to protect them from us, they would need to employ all of us to watch each other, and then some. And we all know how well that worked for the Stasi, or North Korea.
When neighbours and families spy on each other and then report "suspicious activity, the most subtle processor is on the collection gate, in the mind of the spy, trying to put it on the end of a technology driven process is nuts, like drinking from a fire hose.
We may not be wholly safe, but we are safer from the control freaks than we fear.