Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Total Kabab Awareness

In a May, 2006 post entitled Codename: Miranda, I joked about having my grocery purchases linked to another Chicagoan due to poor schema design.
There, I joked about buying:

… granola, yogurt, hummus — the healthy stuff which probably alerts Admiral Poindexter’s Bayesian classifier to my fifth-column status.

Maybe this wasn’t jocular after all, as a Congressional Quarterly article (referred to by Ryan Singel) reports:

Like Hansel and Gretel hoping to follow their bread crumbs out of the forest, the FBI sifted through customer data collected by San Francisco-area grocery stores in 2005 and 2006, hoping that sales records of Middle Eastern food would lead to Iranian terrorists.
The idea was that a spike in, say, falafel sales, combined with other data, would lead to Iranian secret agents in the south San Francisco-San Jose area.

I hope Miranda is not in Gitmo as a result of my healthy eating habits.

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