Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Future World: Privacy, Terrorists, and Science Fiction," by John Allen Who's Counting Column, 5 January 2003.

Paulos warns of the flawed logic in identifying would-be terrorists by usingnot-so-futuristic supercomputers and data-mining techniques. Based on"probability and the obvious fact that the vast majority of people are notterrorists, murderers and drug dealers," he uses a little mathematics tosupport his being wary of proposals involving such pervasive invasions ofprivacy.

--- Annette Emerson