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Amazon Oracle data mining finds dangerous subversives

This amazing and cleaver article titled “Data Mining 101” author Tom Owad claims that the Amazon (Oracle powered) wishlists may be used to find subversives and he provides a techniques for downloading wishlists from the Amazon Oracle database.


This is important because if offers-up a way to Hoover data from Oracle databases.  Smart people like Owad can replicate the web page transactions and vacuum-off all of the Oracle data that is exposed via the web site.  By using this important technique, SQL becomes a moot issue and the API is used as the data delivery language.


Most of all, this outstanding article highlights the fact that any and all Oracle data that is accessible over the web can be extracted and cloned into another database.


“There are many websites and databases that could be used for this project, but few things tell you as much about a person as the books he chooses to read. Isn't that why the Patriot Act specifically requires libraries to release information on who's reading what? For this reason, I chose to focus on the information contained in the popular Amazon wishlists.”


Owad gives actual code listing of how to extract readers of “subversive” publications from Amazon’s Oracle database, and scariest of all, directions for locating the readers:


“Using a pair of 5-year-old computers, two home DSL connections, 42 hours of computer time, and 5 man hours, I now had documents describing the reading preferences of 260,000 U.S. citizens.


I downloaded all the files to an external 120 GB Firewire drive in UFS format. The raw data occupied little more than 5 GB. I initially wanted to move all the files into a single directory to facilitate searching, but as the directory contents exceeded 100,000 items, the speed became glacially slow, so I kept the data divided into chunks of 25,000 wishlists.”


Owad notes that his Oracle data mining technique may be soon used by the FBI to locate potential bad-guys:

“On a final note, the FBI is now hiring computer scientists to implement a project that sounds very similar to what I just did:

"Currently, the FBI is strengthening systems engineering in order to tie new systems together architecturally and ensure that standards for custom and packaged applications are enforced, and it needs engineers to accomplish this goal, the agency said.

"The FBI is also focusing on data warehousing as well as federated search technology, which allows a single search query to be deployed across a number of databases, regardless of whether those databases belong to the same protocol or platform.

"'Warehousing has been very successful, yet enterprise extraction, translation and loading processes must be fine-tuned,” the FBI said. “Data engineers are needed to model legacy databases for federated search and participate in legacy transition planning.'"(Computerworld)”


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