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Government Security United States IT Technology

DARPA Fears Big Data Could Become Big Threat 87

Posted by Soulskill
from the we've-discovered-that-al-qaeda-is-incorporating-'data'-into-their-plans dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "For most businesses, data analytics presents an opportunity. But for DARPA, the military agency responsible for developing new technology, so-called 'Big Data' could represent a big threat. DARPA is apparently looking to fund researchers who can 'investigate the national security threat posed by public data available either for purchase or through open sources.' That means developing tools that can evaluate whether a particular public dataset will have a significant impact on national security, as well as blunt the force of that impact if necessary. 'The threat of active data spills and breaches of corporate and government information systems are being addressed by many private, commercial, and government organizations,' reads DARPA's posting on the matter. 'The purpose of this research is to investigate data sources that are readily available for any individual to purchase, mine, and exploit.' As Foreign Policy points out, there's a certain amount of irony in the government soliciting ways to reduce its vulnerability to data exploitation. 'At the time government officials are assuring Americans they have nothing to fear from the National Security Agency poring through their personal records,' the publication wrote, 'the military is worried that Russia or al Qaeda is going to wreak nationwide havoc after combing through people's personal records.'"
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DARPA Fears Big Data Could Become Big Threat

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  • by SeaFox (739806) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @02:16PM (#44566925)

    Is the government declaring Facebook a national security threat because of all the information people post on it, and having it shut down.

  • by intermodal (534361) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @02:20PM (#44566969) Homepage Journal

    I'm definitely concerned about big data, but the big data that concerns me the most is in the hands of the NSA.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @02:22PM (#44567009) Homepage

    Is the government declaring Facebook a national security threat because of all the information people post on it, and having it shut down.

    Or enacting laws on what data companies can collect about you and what they're legally allowed to do with it. You know, actual privacy laws and laws around data security.

    But that won't happen -- because it would cut into corporate profits, and because it would cut down on some of the sources the NSA themselves use.

    This in the end will be DARPA saying "how can we collect all of this information while still trying to keep it out of the hands of them." And nothing at all will change.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @02:24PM (#44567033)

    but it is federal, state and local governments that are the people's main enemy here, not the russians or chinese.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @02:24PM (#44567037) Homepage

    I'm definitely concerned about big data, but the big data that concerns me the most is in the hands of the NSA.

    Who can trivially demand it from the corporations we mean by 'big data'.

    As long as those companies are legally allowed to collect it, the NSA is legally allowed to demand it from them.

  • by Ioldanach (88584) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @02:33PM (#44567119)
    Big Government is afraid of the damage Big Data could do because it knows the impact of storing and processing massive quantities of data. It has a lot of experience doing this, itself, and is afraid of anyone else doing the same thing.
  • by korbulon (2792438) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @02:56PM (#44567331)

    Of course by "certain" they mean "obscene".

    A looming danger is that everyone in these institutions becomes so zealous in the execution of their appointed duties that they lose all sense of humor, humanity, and irony. In the US I see this sort of humorless automaton behavior all the time: in cops, tsa agents, border patrol - basically from people in most positions of state authority. When you constantly subdue your humanity, you give yourself over to authoritarian tendencies, so expect all sorts of abuses to follow.

    At the risk of sounding histrionic: the real threat isn't that machines will take over humanity, but rather humans will become machines.

What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.

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