The CIA’s chief technology officer outlined the agency’s endless appetite for data in a far-ranging speech on Wednesday.
Speaking before a crowd of tech geeks at GigaOM’s Structure:Data conference in New York City, CTO Ira “Gus” Hunt said that the world is increasingly awash in information from text messages, tweets, and videos - and that the agency wants all of it.
“The value of any piece of information is only known when you can connect it with something else that arrives at a future point in time,” Hunt said. “Since you can’t connect dots you don’t have, it drives us into a mode of, we fundamentally try to collect everything and hang on to it forever.”
Hunt’s comments come two days after Federal Computer Week reported that the CIA has committed to a massive, $600 million, 10-year deal with Amazon for cloud computing services. The agency has not commented on that report, but Hunt’s speech, which included multiple references to cloud computing, indicates that it does indeed have interest in storage and analysis capabilities on a massive scale.
— Donny Miller (via socialuprooting)
At the core is a single beating heart – a unified computer database that gathers and refines information on millions of committed and potential Obama voters. The database will allow staff and volunteers at all levels of the campaign – from the top strategists answering directly to Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina to the lowliest canvasser on the doorsteps of Ohio – to unlock knowledge about individual voters and use it to target personalised messages that they hope will mobilise voters where it counts most.
Every time an individual volunteers to help out – for instance by offering to host a fundraising party for the president – he or she will be asked to log onto the re-election website with their Facebook credentials. That in turn will engage Facebook Connect, the digital interface that shares a user’s personal information with a third party.
Consciously or otherwise, the individual volunteer will be injecting all the information they store publicly on their Facebook page – home location, date of birth, interests and, crucially, network of friends – directly into the central Obama database.
The centralised nature of the database may raise privacy issues as the election cycle progresses. Jeff Chester of the digital advertising watchdog Center for Digital Democracy, which has been calling for regulators to review the growth of digital marketing in politics, said that “this is beyond J Edgar Hoover’s dream. In its rush to exploit the power of digital data to win re-election, the Obama campaign appears to be ignoring the ethical and moral implications.”"
The Guardian on the way the Obama campaign intends to use facebook. Lets be honest. Republicans would (and likely do) do it too. But welcome to the era of big brother.