Monday, March 01, 2010

Searching for Saddam: how the military mapped his social network

What could people learn about you by analyzing your photos on Facebook, Picasa, or Flickr? Well, our military learned enough about Saddam Husein's social network to capture him by analyzing the pictures in his family albums.

Slate has an interesting series about social networking and its role in searching for Saddam Husein.  The series underscores the difference between activity that is top-down directed -- Husein's government -- and networked -- his protectors after invasion.

The younger military interrogators knew the importance of understanding Husein's social network earlier than the leadership. In fact, they kept two diagrams -- one to show the brass, including the big names, the other, the real one,  that included his loyal friends, mostly bodyguards and nobodies in the former government power structure.

Here's a link to a brief video overview of the process to uncover Saddam Husein's social network. And here's a link to the series.

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