The application of database technologies to the study of terrorism and counter-terrorism : a post 9/11 analysis
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Data and information of the highest quality are critical to understanding and countering acts of terrorism. As a tool, database technologies are becoming integral to the field of terrorism studies. The intelligence failings of September 11th 2001 illustrate the need for timely, relevant and accurate data, derived from a plethora of complex intelligence sources. This thesis will argue that, at least until 9/11, the academic study of terrorism and counter-terrorism databases has been limited and that the subject lacks an overall coherency and direction. The thesis asks: what is the quality and practical value of database technologies in the field of terrorism and counter-terrorism post 9/11? The study will provide a cross-disciplinary approach, specifically from the disciplines of political science and computer science. It will present an understanding of the conceptual, design, operation, strengths and weaknesses of terrorism and counterterrorism databases. The ramifications of post 9/11 and its impact upon the intelligence community, and the areas of security, privacy and emerging technologies in data mining and terrorism informatics are assessed. This study will examine mainly open source information on terrorism and counterterrorism databases. The research methodology will be carried out using a series of case studies, from the ITERATE, RAND/MIPT, WITS, and GTDB data sets. Primary sources, for example, codebooks, and secondary source materials such as Library of Congress and GAO reports are used. A comparative sampling of relational databases and terrorism data sets is undertaken. The thesis will illustrate that with increased federal funding, new terrorism database technologies, post 9/11, operate under sophisticated schemata, requiring complex and systematic synthesis. In addition, issues of data sharing, fusion, interoperability and ethical concerns will be addressed. Implications for future terrorism database technologies will be articulated. These require rigorous design methodologies be adopted, while safeguarding ethical and privacy concerns. The thesis provides a coherent systematic analysis of terrorism and counter-terrorism databases, from what to date has been a disaggregated subject field.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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