Data Lessons from the Patriot Act

David M. Raab (DM Review Dec 2004) described lessons from the USA PATRIOT Act gleaned from a document that describes banking rules and also how they were formed.

1) definitions matter and are more difficult than you might think
2) processes, not systems, truly drive an organization
3) Good data is hard to find
4) Data errors are like weeds: they spread quickly and put down deep roots.
5) Identification and authorization are different things.
6) Anti-terrorism efforts have a long way to go.
7) Everything costs more than you think it will.

These insights are well know in the information technology sector. What the discussion forming rules for the Patriot Act demonstrate is that competent people considered implications and side effects of various actions in developing how the goals of the act were to be implemented. It provides an interesting case study as well as some degree of confidence in the outcome.

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