That heavy breathing you hear on the phone sometimes? It's IBM.
Specifically, it's the IBM Social Network Analysis for Telecom Business Intelligence data mining tool, or SNAzzy for short, and it knows all about who called who and for how long on the network of "one of the largest mobile operators in the world."
The purpose of this snazzy snooping, as explained by Big Blue researchers, is to spot "churners" on a cell network who might influence their circle of friends with "profit-threatening behaviour." The reasoning goes that when one person ditches a cell network for greener pastures, they can inspire their friends to do the same. Enter SNAzzy, which can apparently recognise this behaviour, alert the carrier, and allow them to swoop in with retention materials and keep their remaining customers happy. It does this by mapping out call behaviour, time, and a bunch of other heavy metrics that seem to be copy/pasted right out of the NSA.
Better still (I say sarcastically), IBM is already eying larger deployments beyond telecoms into areas like social networks. Personally, I can't wait to see what my Facebook picture stalking looks like when presented to me in graph form. [IBM va Slashdot]