Can you see the Impact of Spelling Errors in your Systems? Boston Bomber's Misspelling of Name Allowed him to Slip Past Security

So many of our systems are dependent on data entry.  And thanks to spell checker’s it seems like there are more spelling errors rather than less.  At least you notice them more as the computer makes a mistake.  People make spelling errors all the time.  Big deal.  Well it is a big deal when it allows the Boston Bomber to be free.

Spelling mistake let Boston bomber slip by U.S. intelligence

Misspelling of "Tsarnaev" in a cable reminds us that human error haunts even the fiercest national security state



Spelling mistake let Boston bomber slip by U.S. intelligenceTamerlan Tsarnaev(Credit: AP)

A new congressional report addresses how the Tsarnaev brothers — responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings — were able to evade FBI capture, despite warnings from Russia about the brothers as potentially dangerous.

The truth — somewhat chilling in our age of advanced technocapital and surveillance — is that the bombers were missed because of sheer human error. A spelling mistake let Tamerlan Tsarnaev slip through the intelligence net. As Reuters reports:

In September 2011, the FSB sent a cable to the CIA, restating the warnings of the first memo [about the Chechen's militant links]. NBC News quoted sources close to the congressional investigation as saying a second note about Tsarnaev was entered into the TECS system the next month, but spelled his name “Tsarnayev.”

Bet you so many big data systems are hampered by spelling errors that gets data rejected.  Seems kind of simple to focus on data entry errors, but it is not sexy.