Tracking and disrupting dark networks: challenges of data collection and analysis
Roberts, Nancy C.
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The attack on September 11, 2001 set off numerous efforts to counter terrorism and insurgencies. Central to these efforts has been the drive to improve data collection and analysis. Section 1 summarizes some of the more notable improvements among U.S. government agencies as they strive to develop their capabilities. Although progress has been made, daunting challenges remain. Section 2 reviews the basic challenges to data collection and analysis focusing in some depth on the difficulties of data integration. Three general approaches to data integration are identifiedâ€”discipline-centric, placed- centric and virtual. A summary of the major challenges in data integration confronting field operators in Iraq and Afghanistan illustrates the work that lies ahead. Section 3 shifts gears to focus on the future and introduces the discipline of Visual Analyticsâ€”an emerging field dedicated to improving data collection and analysis through the use of computer-mediated visualization techniques and tools. The purpose of Visual Analytics is to maximize human capability to perceive, understand, reason, make judgments and work collaboratively with multidimensional, conflicting, and dynamic data. The paper concludes with two excellent examples of analytic software platforms that have been developed for the intelligence communityâ€”Palantir and ORA. They signal the progress made in the field of Visual Analytics to date and illustrate the opportunities that await other IS researchers interested in applying their knowledge and skills to the tracking and disrupting of dark networks.
The article of record as published may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10796-010-9271-z
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