NSA SKYNET may have killed thousands of innocent people

A new examination of documents detailing the US National Security Agency's SKYNET programme shows that SKYNET carries out mass surveillance of Pakistan's mobile phone network and then uses a machine learning algorithm to score each of its 55 million users to rate their likelihood of being a terrorist. The documents were released as part of the Edward Snowden cache. The data scientist Patrick Ball, director of research at the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, which produces scientifically defensible statistics about human rights abuses, called the NSA's methods "ridiculously optimistic" because a flaw in how the NSA trains the algorithm to analyse cellular metadata makes the results unsound. Most of the 2,500 to 4,000 people killed by drone strikes since 2004 have been classified as "extremists" by the US government. They may in fact have been innocent.


Writer: Christian Grothoff and J.M. Porup
Publication: Ars Technica