Re: Longitudinal data mining, was Re: Stop the "John in Alaska" thread title!

From: Michael M. Butler (
Date: Fri Jan 25 2002 - 13:40:58 MST

1) Well, "data mining" is a phrase that has been around for at least seven or eight years. has some possibly useful general information about the concept.

2) "Longitudinal", in this context, was intended in the sense of "concerned with development over (a possibly extended
period of) time", as, for instance, "A longitudinal study of [this cohort]".

3) Inslaw was a company that developed and held the rights to a piece of software called PROMIS. The time frame was the
1970s-80s. PROMIS stood for "Prosecutor's Management Information System"; it is officially reported to have been
intended for case management. has a little data on the matter. It's Google's first pick for the
search term "Inslaw".

Reputedly, various agencies within the US (and eventually foreign) governments became very interested in adaptations or
copies of the software. The TLAs in question include the DOJ, NSA and CIA. Reports exist that the enhanced versions of
PROMIS developed over time included data mining capabilities--tying "Jim Smith" to a SSN to a telephone number based on
intersecting subset snippets from diverse sources and locations.

Obviously such capability is of interest to intelligence agencies. Obviously a compromised version of such a system
would be of great interest to certain parties. There is a figurative ton of (dis?)information on the Web. I make no
claims regarding the truth or falsehood of rumors etc. regarding Inslaw or PROMIS.
Here are some popular ones taken from the first issue of WIRED Magazine, which wasn't always sterling about fact

4) So, explicitly: NSA or someone probably has a really nice setup for doing this sort of thing.

Simon McClenahan wrote:
> Sorry to be explicit, but you are being too obtuse for me! Are you talking
> about beloved by IBM? What is longitudinal (or
> latitudinal) data mining? How does this software address my concerns?
> cheers,
> Simon
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Michael M. Butler" <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2002 7:15 PM
> Subject: Longitudinal data mining, was Re: Stop the "John in Alaska" thread
> title!
> > I'd guess someone must have done something of the sort. Possibly an
> adaptation of
> > the Inslaw system (beloved of various Three-Letter Agencies).
> >
> > If nothing is out in the open source world, could be an amusing thesis
> subject.
> >
> > Mike, interested
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butler a t comp - lib . o r g    Wm. Burroughs said it best: "After a shooting spree,
I am not here to have an argument.        they always want to take the guns away
I am here as part of a civilization.        from the people who didn't do it."

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