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Patents Communications IBM Privacy

IBM Uses Call-Detail Records To Identify "Friends" 116

theodp writes "Big Blue may know what you did last summer. Or at least who you called. In a move out of the NSA's playbook, IBM Research has been scrutinizing the call-detail records of 'one of the largest mobile operators in the world' (PDF). By analyzing who calls whom, and for how long, IBM claims its patent-pending snooping software can now identify circles of 'friends' who tend to exhibit the same profit-threatening behavior. 'We believe that our analysis is a first of its kind that exploits the underlying social network in a telecom call graph,' boasted a team of IBM researchers and a UMD prof. For now, IBM seems to have focused on using the info to see if your friends are churners, so you can be dealt with pro-actively lest you follow their lead and bolt. However, IBM suggests its SNAzzy data mining technology (Social Network Analysis for Telecom Business Intelligence) has a bright future, noting it 'is also capable of analyzing any kind of social network or graph, not just telecom networks.'"
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IBM Uses Call-Detail Records To Identify "Friends"

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  • Re:How can we churn? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Epsilon Moonshade ( 108853 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @05:07PM (#28911785)

    I actually read TFA! "Churn" is apparently when people switch from one carrier to another, presumably at the end of the contract. (This answers both the parent poster, and one in this same thread)

    That being said, it looks like they'd be using this data to identify who's likely to switch over, and sweeten their deals a bit to keep them - at least, in the context of cell phone companies and the like. Obviously, this has other implications outside of cell companies, but I'm sticking with the original thought on this one.

    So how do we game this system? Find people who have recently changed carriers and start having them call you. Free better phone for staying with a carrier you'd probably have already stayed with!

    Silly, yes, I know. Thanks.

  • Re:How can we churn? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ezel ( 249772 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @05:12PM (#28911805)

    Wiktionary [wiktionary.org] gives asomewhat better answer:
    1. A vessel used for churning.
            a butter churn
    2. (telecommunications) The time when a consumer switches his/her service provider.
    3. (telecommunications) The mass of people who are ready to switch carriers, expressed by the formula Customer Quits/Customer base.

    I wonder how the etymology on that is explained.

  • Re:Uh-oh (Score:3, Informative)

    by blackraven14250 ( 902843 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @05:26PM (#28911891)
    Yeah, change due to the will of a corporation!
  • BULLSHIT (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 01, 2009 @07:46PM (#28912853)

    This bullshit accusation comes up every time anyone mentions IBM and is a great way to get guaranteed mod points on oh-so-politically-correct-slashdot. Here's what "Foobar of Borg" doesn't tell you:

    - the book was written by the former publisher of "OS/2 magazine", Edwin Black, who profited from his association with IBM for many years until its folding in 96 [os2bbs.com]
    - Black also "co-incidentally" launched a high profile lawsuit against IBM that was summarily thrown out of court, but the press did not cover this fact.
    - Many people [ckprojects.org] have questioned the authenticity [upenn.edu] and accuracy of the accusations [businessweek.com], which while juicy, do not stand up to close scrutiny.

    Ultimately Black's assertions are like claiming that gun manufacturers are responsible for the murders that are committed with their products, or that manufacturers of crowbars are responsible for breakins, or that people who write Linux are morally responsible for the many people who die when it is used by the US military.

    - Anonymous, because I will almost certainly be accused of being anti-semitic, even though I am jewish.

The person who can smile when something goes wrong has thought of someone to blame it on.