Ira “Gus” Hunt, the CIA’s Chief Technology Officer, gave a revealing presentation at GigaOM’s Structure: Data conference where he outlined the CIA’s approach to collecting data from the public. The approach as outlined is a recipe for a police state.
“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.”
Could an intelligence agency have a broader (self-proclaimed) mission? The CIA is partnering with more private firms to meet this mission.
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.
And so this is an apparent competition among intelligence agencies now to see how much they can collect (and spend) spying on Americans. The NSA seemed to be in the lead, but the CIA wasn’t going down without a fight. Though both intelligence agencies seem to believe they are completely unrestrained by the law to spy on Americans at will. Wasn’t Obama supposed to reverse this trend?
Watch the whole presentation and take special note of how your cell phone is a “mobile sensor platform.”