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Big Data and Big Government …. Breaking the Rules Thousands of Times at the N.S.A. : The New Yorker

When it comes to government having access to “Big Data” the mistakes, however small or innocent, can be quite large.

Perhaps we are a bit naive as Americans when we assume that government is not watching a great deal of what we do or say over “public” airways, etc.   It just stands to reason that if it is going out over “the air” that somehow, interested parties are going to be able to get their hands on it,  That may include foreign governments spying on us, local rebels like Anonymous, and, perhaps more thoroughly and often, our government’s amazing information gathering apparatus linked to places like the NSA.

But as Americans, naive or cynical, we should be able to question and contemplate the possibilities of Big Data in the hands of Big Government.

“What does the National Security Agency consider a small or a big number? The Washington Post’s Barton Gellman has a report based on documents the paper got from Edward Snowden about an N.S.A. audit that found two thousand seven hundred and seventy-six “incidents” in 2012 in which it broke its own rules about spying on Americans, either accidentally or on purpose. That is seven times a day, which sounds less like a slip than a ritual. But to call those violations frequent, according to the agency, would be to misunderstand the scale of its operations: “You can look at it as a percentage of our total activity that occurs each day,” a senior N.S.A. official told the paper. “You look at a number in absolute terms that looks big, and when you look at it in relative terms, it looks a little different.” We spy so much that the math gets hard; even thousands of privacy and legal violations can’t really be held against us.”

via Breaking the Rules Thousands of Times at the N.S.A. : The New Yorker.

Filed under: analytics, Big Data and Big Government, Blogosphere, Changing Media Paradigm, consumers, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Culture Think, News, symbolic uses of politics, , , , ,

Surveillance in America: Dark arts, black hats

For those of us who have nothing to hide today, the idea that tomorrow’s leaders may be peeping at everything we do that we presume to be private is downright creepy!  Indeed, the so called leak scandal in DC today is giving more and more people some pause.

Imagine that we continue to allow the government to peek in on our lives with impunity.  Tomorrow, a government program that is partly privatized lands your most personal and private information in the hands of a leaker.  But that leaker does not leak to the general public, he or she sells or uses your information for personal gain.   The possibilities are no longer hypothetical.  It  all seems to be unraveling before our very eyes…

“‘WE WANT you to help us do this better,” asserted General Keith Alexander (pictured), the director of America’s National Security Agency (NSA), to hundreds of computer hackers at Black Hat, an annual information-security conference in Las Vegas on July 31st. General Alexander claimed that his agency’s mass-surveillance programmes had stopped 54 potential terrorist plots. He reassured the audience that their privacy was being protected. Still, there were a few heckles.

America’s spies have had a tough time since Edward Snowden, a former intelligence contractor, began leaking information that revealed the massive scale of NSA snooping. Indeed, just as General Alexander tried to charm the geeks, Britain’s Guardian newspaper published another leak by Mr Snowden. This one revealed a system called XKeyscore that lets the NSA glean emails, chats and browsing histories without specific authorisation. The intelligence agency confirmed the programme, but said it was lawful and essential.”

More via Surveillance in America: Dark arts, black hats | The Economist.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Changing Media Paradigm, Culture Think, MashCrunchWired, Mass Media and Public Opinion, News, political corruption, Political Economy, Political Facts and Fiction, political plots, propaganda and spin, Public Policy, Technology and You,

U.S. Maintains Vast Database of Phone Calls, Lawmakers Say – NYTimes.com

With governments abusing power and leaders and their inner circle being less than perfect (Watergate, Iran Contra, Monica Lewinsky Scandal, Abu Ghraib) how much power do we in a democratic society want to give our government?

With the advent of Big Data, social media and satellite technology, information and information management gives modern governments more power than our founding fathers could have ever imagined.  The National Security Agency is currently struggling with trying to keep us safe and respecting our civil liberties.

“The National Security Agency has for years been compiling a library of Americans’ phone records and using computers to search the database for potential associates of terrorists or spies. But officials must receive permission from a secret court before …”

via U.S. Maintains Vast Database of Phone Calls, Lawmakers Say – NYTimes.com.

Filed under: News,

Drone surveillance: We are not alone… The Policy ThinkShop … Rise of Drones in U.S. Spurs Efforts to Limit Uses – NYTimes.com

Could the post September 11th climate of state power and police surveillance and this decades’ recessionary pressures on local budgets and community policing costs be the perfect storm for the spread of drones in our neighborhoods?

“They can record video images and produce heat maps. They can be used to track fleeing criminals, stranded hikers — or just as easily, political protesters. And for strapped police departments, they are more affordable than …”

via Rise of Drones in U.S. Spurs Efforts to Limit Uses – NYTimes.com.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Culture Think, drone attacks, News, Public Policy, , , ,

North Korea’s gulag: Never again? | The Economist

IN LABOUR camps across its remote northern reaches, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea detains an estimated 150,000-200,000 political prisoners. The regime claims to hold precisely none. Or rather, in the formulation of the late Kim Jong Il, punishing the enemies of the state protects the …

MORE via North Korea’s gulag: Never again? | The Economist.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Culture Think, Death and Dying, News, ,

Bain Capital Tied to Surveillance Push in China – NYTimes.com

As the Chinese government forges ahead on a multibillion-dollar effort to blanket the country with surveillance cameras, one American company stands to …

MORE via Bain Capital Tied to Surveillance Push in China – NYTimes.com.

Filed under: Election 2012, News, WeSeeReason, ,

Murdoch Hacking Inquiry Expands to British Officials – NYTimes.com

A day after presiding over the publication of his new, damn-the-critics Sun on Sunday tabloid, Rupert Murdoch was confronted with fresh allegations from a top police investigator that the daily Sun had systematically paid …

MORE via Murdoch Hacking Inquiry Expands to British Officials – NYTimes.com.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Culture Think, ethics, MashCrunchWired, Mass Media and Public Opinion, News, Paper Media, political corruption, political plots, propaganda and spin, Public Policy, Using Social Media, WeSeeReason, ,

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