Interpretation and Insider Threat: Re-reading the Anthrax Mailings of 2001 Through a “Big Data” Lens

Part of Book
Authors:Nowviskie, Bethany, University of Virginia LibraryUniversity of Virginia ORCID icon, Gregory, PBHS Public Health Sciences AdminUniversity of Virginia

This pre-print chapter for a textbook on the use of so-called "big data" in anti-terrorism and law enforcement addresses the notion of insider threat, using the "Amerithrax" anthrax mailings of 2001 as a practical case study. The chapter explores how data analysis could aid investigators on major insider threat cases in visualizing and identifying patterns emerging from dense, rich, and very large sets of behavioral and transactional data that play out across metadata-bearing axes such as space and time. The chapter argues, however, for close attention to civil liberties and ethical use of data mining, and concludes that "big data" analysis is no substitute for careful, close reading of sources by expert interpreters.

insider threat, interpretation, big data, civil liberties, digital humanities
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Contributors:Akhgar, BabakSaathoff, GregoryArabnia, HamidHill, RichardStaniforth, AndrewBayerl, Petra Saskia
Source Citation:

Nowviskie, Bethany, and Gregory Saathoff. "Interpretation and Insider Threat: Re-reading the Anthrax Mailings of 2001 Through a “Big Data” Lens." Ed. Babak Akhgar, Gregory Saathoff, Hamid Arabnia, Richard Hill, Andrew Staniforth, and Petra Saskia Bayerl. Application of Big Data for National Security: A Practitioner’s Guide to Emerging Technologies Oxford, UK and Waltham, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2015. 55-67. Available: ISBN:9780128019672, [""].

Published Date:

This book chapter was made available as open access through contract negotiation with Elsevier Publishing. The full textbook may be purchased at the publication URL listed on this page.

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