The US National Research Council (NRC) has given the thumbs down on data mining as a technique to spot terrorist activity.
The organisation has called for an analysis of the use of data mining technology to identify threats to America, after claiming that the technology would cause too many false positives.
"The danger of terror attacks on the US is real and serious, and we should use the information technologies at our disposal to combat this threat," said former secretary of defence William Perry, co-chairman of the committee that wrote the report.
"However, the threat does not justify government activities that violate the law, or fundamental changes in the level of privacy protection to which Americans are entitled."
Data mining is commonly used in business to identify key consumer groups. However, the technique has significant failings for national security purposes, the NRC found.
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