Government Priming the For-Profit Big Data Pump

In this past Sunday’s New York Times, Max Frankel writes an opinion piece in Sunday Review regarding the NSA’s efforts to collect massive data about Americans’ telephone and Internet communications. Frankel writes well about the dangers of massive data acquisition given the potential to misuse such information when oversight is flagging. But for me the newest aspect of this debate as contributed by Frankel is that much of the data analysis is being farmed out to for-profit government contracting companies.  So, our personal data is available to a privatized form of analysis and data synthesis. Will these for-profit companies build skills and infrastructure that they will be able to apply well beyond NSA data, to just about any behavioral information that companies bring to their doorstep? Certainly so- and so our government is the angel funder that may well enable a scale of data analysis for human behavioral prediction that outsizes all such historical efforts.

 

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