Contact Tracing is critical to minimizing the spread of COVID-19 in your community. Coronavirus infections are particularly dangerous to vulnerable populations such as retirement homes, elderly family members, medical providers, and front-line service personnel. By collecting and managing the data of your population, you are prepared if and when an outbreak occurs.
The FMS Advanced Systems Group developed Sentinel Visualizer to visualize complex relationships hidden in traditional rows and columns. For instance, schools can store relatively static data on their students, teachers, staff, classes, clubs, sports, siblings, family members, etc. When positive tests occur, one can find common links to quickly identify those who need to be tested and quarantined while limiting the impact on the wider community.
Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg are getting blamed for a large number of issues from promoting fake news, election fraud, mishandling user data, and profiting from selling user data.
While some of that may be true, the Facebook security breach is actually a violation of Facebook API licensing rules by the people who used it. Facebook provided the data and encouraged developers like us to create innovative solutions for the Facebook ecosystem. They weren’t selling the data.They weren’t even charging us to use it.
Our Facebook App with Social Network Analysis and Maps
In 2010, we created a Facebook application using our Sentinel Visualizer technology to perform Social Network Analysis (SNA) based on a user’s friends’ friends. It would automatically cluster friends so you could quickly see their groups (high school, college, work, family, in-laws, clubs, etc.).
Each box (picture) was one of your friends, and you could move them around the network, hover over them to get their info, or click on them to go to their page.
We also plotted friends on a Microsoft Bing Map making it easy to see who were near you or where you were visiting.
We launched our free Sentinel Visualizer Facebook App to a limited number of users and it started to gain followers. People were amazed to see which of their friends knew each other. The application started to go viral. We were having trouble supporting the traffic.
Not Allowed to Save Facebook Data
One of the things developers couldn’t do was to save Facebook’s data. All we collected were the user names and email addresses people provided when they registered our program. Unfortunately, other developers didn’t abide by Facebook’s terms and the data improperly got to Cambridge Analytica and others.
Facebook Stopped Making the Data Available
Our app ceased to work when Facebook limited their APIs and prevented our ability to get to the list of your friends’ friends among your network.
It’s not entirely Facebook’s fault for trying to spur innovation by sharing their data for free. Some developers violated the trust Facebook gave them.
The Full Story
Here’s our new web page describing our experience in detail:
What valuable information can you get out of huge amounts of telephone call records?
The US government is trying to collect all the telephone call data records (CDR) for US and international phone calls though its PRISM program. Does having this information constitute snooping? Is it an invasion of privacy? Or can it really help investigators track, find, and thwart threats?
Does it Matter with So Much Data?
With billions of phone calls, how could anyone possibly find anything of value amid all the innocent, unrelated calls? No one can possibly gain significant insight looking at an Excel spreadsheet or a database showing rows and columns of all those calls. Isn’t it just noise?
How Sentinel Visualizer Analyzes Call Data Records
Without advanced analytics software, the data is overwhelming. Our commercial Sentinel Visualizer program from our Advanced Systems Group provides a platform to gain insight into the massive number of phone calls. It’s about managing large amounts of data, seeing the relationships between entities (phone numbers and people), drilling down where necessary, and filtering based on time, geography, and relationships:
Call detail records are imported into the Sentinel Visualizer database (SQL Server)
If information exists for known individuals and their phone number(s), related phones can be quickly identified as warranting additional investigation
Link Traversal Analysis can be performed between two phone numbers to show all the phones related to them through multiple levels, and quickly filter out the unrelated calls to identify the “community of interest”
Numerous reporting and exporting options: print diagrams and customized reports, or export them in image, PDF, Word, Excel.
Sentinel Visualzer helps analysts mine their data to find hidden relationships among people, places and events. Built with Visual Studio .NET on a SQL Server database, Sentinel Visualizer provdes advanced data visualization through link analysis, geospatial mapping, timelines, social network analysis (SNA), advanced filtering and decluttering, and many other tools to maximize the value of data.
As the rampage and manhunt in Boston, Cambridge, and Watertown transpired, MIT Technology Review published an article that mentioned our Sentinel Visualizer product. In the April 19, 2013 article, David Talbot describes the rise of technology to detect the activities of criminals over the Internet and connect seemingly unrelated people, places and things. For more information, visit Building a Picture of the Boston Marathon Bombing Suspects through Social Network Analysis.
Our link analysis program, Sentinel Visualizer, continues to help organizations better manage and understand their data for some amazing missions.
Read our joint press release with London based Videre Est Credere (Seeing is Believing) on how Sentinel Visualizer is a cornerstone of their methodology for organizing their data and activities. They train and equip citizens in Africa to record human rights atrocities and expose it to the global press. We’re proud to play a role in their efforts to make a more safe and just world, and thank those who are willing to do so at great personal risk.
The FMS Advanced Systems Group has a new video for its Sentinel Visualizer program: An Introduction to Social Network Analysis (SNA). If you are trying to find hidden relationships among people, places, and events, Social Network Analysis can help.
Social Network Analysis is a subset of network theory that finds important relationships and centrality in complex networks. Learn how organizations in the law enforcement, intelligence, defense, finance, and other data intensive fields are using Sentinel Visualizer in their missions.
We are all used to seeing the 'rows and columns' metaphor when looking at data. In fact it is the primary interface for many of our data analysis tasks.
But rows and columns can hide valuable patterns. What happens when you take data out of a database and visualize it as a network? Now you can see important connections, centrality, trends, movement over time, and many other key indicators.
At the Microsoft TechEd conference. Microsoft’s Mary Chipman conducted a one-on-one interview about the history of FMS and how we’ve survived the economic and technical cycles over our 23 years of existence. Learn more about FMS, our successes and challenges over the years and today. (28 minutes)