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The controversies surrounding the revelations about the NSA are bringing a lot of background information about recent developments in technology onto the radar screen. 20 years ago when internet access was opened up to the general public giving rise to the first dotcom boom, there was a general public consciousness about how dramatically computer technology was developing and how much of an impact it was having on the lives of ordinary people. Since then generally visible technology has settled down a bit. We are still surfing the internet with browsers and sending email. The changes have mostly been about more and more of the same and the race to make it all mobile.

However, behind the scenes where the serious geeks hang out, things are moving at exponential speeds. Hardware and networks are progressively able to crunch more and more data at faster and faster speed. As fundamentally new approaches like quantum computing are being developed there doesn't seem to be any prospect of a plateau in this trend. Also the cost of new hardware is moving in the opposite direction from its power.

One of the important ways in which this power is being used that that has a great deal to do with the activities of NSA is the software field that has become known as Big Data.

Big data is a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications. The challenges include capture, curation, storage,[3] search, sharing, transfer, analysis,[4] and visualization. The trend to larger data sets is due to the additional information derivable from analysis of a single large set of related data, as compared to separate smaller sets with the same total amount of data, allowing correlations to be found to "spot business trends, determine quality of research, prevent diseases, link legal citations, combat crime, and determine real-time roadway traffic conditions."
We are talking exabytes of data and it is happening in all sorts of different fields such as meteorology and genomics. I spent part of my working life dealing with traditional databases on a small scale and know the difficulties of constructing them in a way that you can retrieve the data that you are likely to be looking for. Those approaches are now about as antiquated as the buggy whip.

This has opened up the field of big data analytics that has spawned an array of new technologies. The major players in private industry like IBM and Google are investing heavily in research. Last year President Obama announced a federal Big Data Initiative committing more than $200 M to data research projects. That of course was before the present upheavals.

Even having some technical background in this area, I find myself unable to really grasp the immensity of this. One thing is certain. It is here to stay. We can and should have a public conversation about how it should and should not be used, but it isn't going away.

One of the things that I think we can draw from this is that there is an active partnership between government and private industry not only in the development of technology but also in its use and application. With programs like PRISM we have gotten a glimpse of it in national security. We don't really know much about how that actually works in practice. We have also seen the role of government contractors such as Booz Allen who actually operate most of the government programs. They in turn have a web of connections to other corporations.

Everybody has pretty much known that companies like Facebook and Google use user data and activities to make money. That is the subject of ongoing issues in the US and the EU about privacy regulations. Most people are more or less inclined to take that in their stride. But, when big data is found to be in the hands of big brother, the level of nervousness begins to rise.      

Originally posted to Richard Lyon on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 01:25 PM PDT.

Also republished by The First and The Fourth and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  With the Rabid right trying to kill foodstamps (8+ / 0-)

    and the rest of the social safety net.

    The insane spend on this technology with at worst outright failure;Boston Marathon; to at best dubious success;Zizzi case;makes the "intelligence" community's effort not just wrong but outright evil....

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 01:54:55 PM PDT

  •  I'm glad we're learning about it (8+ / 0-)

    and appreciate your thoughtful diaries, Richard. I first heard of it when I read this story:

    May 28, 2006

    Wal-Mart's data center remains mystery

    By Max McCoy

    [Joplin, Mo.] Globe Investigative Writer

    JANE, Mo. - Call it Area 71.

    Behind a fence topped with razor wire just off U.S. Highway 71 is a bunker of a building that Wal-Mart considers so secret that it won't even let the county assessor inside without a nondisclosure agreement. ....

    The 125,000-square-foot building, tucked behind a new Wal-Mart Supercenter, is only ... 15 miles from corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.

    There is nothing about the building to give even a hint that Wal-Mart owns it.

    Despite the glimpses through the fence of manicured grass and carefully placed trees, the overall impression is that this is a secure site that could withstand just about anything. Earth is packed against the sides. The green roof - meant, perhaps, to blend into the surrounding Ozarks hills - bristles with dish antennas. On one of the heavy steel gates at the guardhouse is a notice that visitors must use the intercom for assistance. ....

    But Wal-Mart, according to a 2004 New York Times article, had enough storage capacity to contain twice the amount of all the information available on the Internet. For the technically minded, the exact amount was for 460 terabytes of data.

    http://www.joplinglobe.com/...

    There's more in the story about the video they take in their stores and keep, which seems to be commonplace by now. I'm a Wal-Mart hater, so I don't go there, but no doubt it's much more sophisticated now.

    Probably all big corporate businesses do it. I suppose we have to be aware that it's probably much more widespread than we know.

    "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

    by cotterperson on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 02:01:45 PM PDT

    •  Nobody can run a business without (7+ / 0-)

      a computer these days, but there is a cosmic difference between Joe's Auto Body Shop and Walmart. They have developed cutting edge technology to squeeze every nickle till the buffalo shits.  

      •  Did you read the article today about tracking (5+ / 0-)

        people in stores? It was absolutely horrifying to me... this is 150% in line with what you're pointing out. Let me know if it's behind a paywall. It's NYT, but it's the must-read of the month, IMHO...

        http://www.nytimes.com/...

        A few choice excerpts, although the whole article is pretty chilling:

        Like dozens of other brick-and-mortar retailers, Nordstrom wanted to learn more about its customers — how many came through the doors, how many were repeat visitors — the kind of information that e-commerce sites like Amazon have in spades. So last fall the company started testing new technology that allowed it to track customers’ movements by following the Wi-Fi signals from their smartphones.

        -cut-

        But while consumers seem to have no problem with cookies, profiles and other online tools that let e-commerce sites know who they are and how they shop, some bristle at the physical version, at a time when government surveillance — of telephone calls, Internet activity and Postal Service deliveries — is front and center because of the leaks by Edward J. Snowden.

        Another excerpt that screamed "paging Orwell in aisle nine":
        Cameras have become so sophisticated, with sharper lenses and data-processing, that companies can analyze what shoppers are looking at, and even what their mood is.

        For example, Realeyes, based in London, which analyzes facial cues for responses to online ads, monitors shoppers’ so-called happiness levels in stores and their reactions at the register. Synqera, a start-up in St. Petersburg, Russia, is selling software for checkout devices or computers that tailors marketing messages to a customer’s gender, age and mood, measured by facial recognition.

        “If you are an angry man of 30, and it is Friday evening, it may offer you a bottle of whiskey,” said Ekaterina Savchenko, the company’s head of marketing.

        Two words: no thanks.

        Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

        by mahakali overdrive on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 09:41:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  now maybe the people who thought we were nuts (5+ / 0-)

          when we didn't like grocery stores tracking our purchases with our check-cashing cards will understand we saw the tip of the iceberg last century.
              Way back in 1990s I had done a huge family grocery shopping at a store where I had shopped for a decade. I had even consented to give them my address and filled out the cardboard card (no one was online in our area then) although I pitched a fit and wouldn't give them my driver's license # or my checking account #. (I had been to a conference for secretaries on how to get people to pay their bills and we had been drilled that you should ask for these things but then relent and you should never give this stuff out because by law they couldn't use it anyway- never mind 'the last 4 digits of your social security card'- that wasn't even a issue, it was still sacred.)
              I had had that card for about 5 years with no problems at all. So I went through the check-out line, everything back into the cart and prepared to write a check. They wouldn't take it because I didn't have an "updated" card ("everybody does now, you know") and wouldn't give them that same information that night either.
               It might have been different if they had ever contacted me (they had my info for just this purpose, no?) and said they were revamping for their new computers and please update your info. But they hadn't. They just hit me up for the info in front of everybody, at the end of a long night.
               Nothing had changed with me and my info- they had it in their hands yet they said they couldn't use it unless I officially gave it to them again+. I walked out and never shopped there again, leaving the ice cream on top since by the time they finished hassling me in public for something I didn't do wrong it was melted and I didn't want it anyway.

          We are all pupils in the eyes of God.

          by nuclear winter solstice on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 03:17:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I have written programs (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cotterperson, GreenMother

          to do that with people's movements on websites in order to see what attracts them and what doesn't. I am not at all surprised that the same thing would be done in the bricks and mortar world. They already had security cameras looking for shoplifters.

          This is part of the information reality that is not going to go away. The only available option is to discuss what the allowable uses of the data might be.

    •  460 TB is trivial nowadays (5+ / 0-)

      We have been deeply into petabytes for years.

      I have done business with Walmart IT, they are one of the most difficult companies to deal with.

      Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

      by Shockwave on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 02:14:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Probably on-line sales transactions (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, duhban

      Gotta compete with Amazon.

      I love the descriptions of these data centers (including NSA Utah) in scary terms - this is a typical DC.

    •  some questions about the article (0+ / 0-)

      the number cited is what per day? Because the estimates I have seen (and they are estimates because no one knows the exact data traffic totals) are well higher then that. We're talking a 1,000 times the number cited.

      So did they simpify confuse TB with PB?

      source

      In the time that I have been given,
      I am what I am
      Shop Kos Katalogue or the Parrot gets it

      by duhban on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 12:01:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  WTF! That is just nuts! (0+ / 0-)
  •  Good points (3+ / 0-)

    This is a complicated issue involving both what businesses and what government are doing with our data and what they should be doing, to what degree this information ought to be owned and sold (which is happening now), how much ought to be kept confidential (which happens to some specific sets of data but not overall in general), who ought to be able to data mine, etc. It is a vast topic with a lot of ins and outs. We like some aspects of it obviously - most of us are willing to give up some information to be able to buy things online or to allow us to use Google, for example. But establishing some national standards for the parameters of how data may be used is a critical need I think. Thanks for the diary.

  •  Interesting story in NYT that the anti-Snowden (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CroneWit, Brecht, lotlizard, GreenMother

    guys are linking to in another diary as if it's a bad thing for privacy advocates.  It suggests that the Russians are going to push to have control of Internet technical standards transferred to the UN to increase privacy.  The spin on it is that the Russians might use this to spy on the US and on their own people, once it's out of the US's control, which is a strange thing for us to be worrying about, considering everything that's going on.

    I still don't buy that Google and Facebook have more to gain than they have to lose from their cooperation with the NSA.  They should have known better.

    •  Back scratching. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreenMother

      The big Face and the big G get to spy on their customers without any interference from the big US.

    •  That NYT article was puzzling to me (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dumbo

      and didn't seem to match the spin in the diary you refer to.  The spin puzzled me to; it seemed to be that Russia's renewed discussion of internal regulations was somehow 'bad for America' (and of course that that 'badness' was somehow Snowden's fault).

      But the NYT article itself seemed to be describing changes internal to Russia that would (as I saw it) give Russia something closer to the NSA's level of capacity to spy on its own citizens.  (Not that that's a good thing, mind you, but I didn't see how that impacted the US at all.)

      Russia is also considering asking the UN to set up a supervisory group regarding data collection.  I have no idea what to think about that.

      Puzzling.

  •  Rumor is that the Big MS (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sceptical observer, duhban

    is planning on building 30 DCs this coming year. They and their buddies are running out of Big Data space.

  •  Big data = massive correlation (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    katiec, milkbone, lotlizard, GreenMother

    Massive correlation for purposes of law enforcement = guilt by association

    Massive correlation for purposes of selling = prospect lists

    One is unconstitutional; the other isn't.

    Neither one guarantees results of any kind.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 02:55:50 PM PDT

    •  It is one thing (5+ / 0-)

      to find yourself on somebody's mailing list. It is quite another to find yourself on the no fly list.

    •  If you look into the private sector end of this (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon, nchristine, lotlizard

      the point of why its hard to yield results is privacy/data compliance laws

      IF they can partner with something like a PRISM then they can do an end run around those requirements

      We would have no idea if that's happening given the secrecy

      So, yes, right now, you are right. The problem is the phrase "right now"

      Just like the treaties they are pushing through with the Europeans is design to water down European data protection laws, this could be an end run around what few private data protection laws there are right now

      To give you an idea of big data's mind set, they consider these laws a hinderance to business. Indeed, when Firefox recently started to add applications that will reduce the ability of companies to use data, the response was this will harm the internet

      What that really means is that they are all trying to push the next in a certain direction and rae developing tools to overcome what you describe

      •  Even with person data not anonymized (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        barbwires, duhban

        ...the problem is validating the correlations.  That requires substantial human analysis.

        I understand exactly what big data analysis is doing.  And I understand that the folks pushing deregulation of access are going to compromise  everyone's privacy for very little if any gain on their part.

        Correlation is not causation.  Which means that you don't want to use it where chances of a mistake have large consequences.

        50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

        by TarheelDem on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 05:14:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  validation is for sissys (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          milkbone, lotlizard

          Who said they wouldn't use it even if it's wrong?

          Those are 2 pretty damn big assumptions. You are giving them a lot more credit than they deserve.

          Most of the time all they would want is data that agreed with the conclusion they already came to. Data is great for that.

          •  or prove it's right -- how ? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lotlizard

            me: feeling like a Syrian. in Homs. or a war correspondent "in the way--" that is, in the wrong place at the 'right' time. or like prey, or offal, or a bait ball. (who's diary was that from ...)

            what data hoovering is now is not the thing that's coming. war 'on' terror becomes war 'of' terror -- but first, something inconceivable to show how wrong we have been, and where the power is held.

            i'm definitely not good at mushing my thoughts into clarity.

            it's like this: i was completely caught by surprise, reading a short work of fiction, about a deserter who was being 'led to a place' where he could continue his escape -- led through unfamiliar, heavily forested, hilly terrain -- in circles, which he realized, kneeling to drink from a stream, seeing his earlier hand-print close by -- as he heard the rifle being readied to 'disappear' him, in seconds. all he could do was hang his head and submit.

            he thought he'd be the one outfoxing the rubes.

            not by a long shot. he was caught even before he had schemed to desert.

            @Hugh: There is no Article II power which says the Executive can violate the Constitution. * Addington's perpwalk? TRAILHEAD of accountability for Bush-2 Crimes.

            by greenbird on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 07:16:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  It would be interesting to get a hold (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferment, lotlizard

    of some of the partnership agreements between the government and some of these big data firms, like Google and Facebook

    But I am not holding my breath

  •  Big Data = Big Money for friends of Big Brother (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mogolori, lotlizard

    Big data still in its infancy

    While big data is already a big business, it’s still in its early stages.

    In 2013, information technology spending driven by big data functional demands will total $34 billion. By 2016, the industry-wide impact driven by big data will be $232 billion, estimates Gartner Inc., a technology research and advisory firm.

    “A lot of the work up until now has been focused on how to collect, store and retrieve the huge flood of data,” said Charles Gillespie, founder of Semantic Research Inc.

    His San Diego-based company, founded in 2001, is focused on the next step: how to help humans make sense of all that data so they can profit from it and make better, faster and more confident decisions.

    •  Akin to a phrase that's been bumping around (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lotlizard

      in my head today -- The bigger the data, the bigger the leak.  

      Wikileaks is just the beginning.  The things Snowden has that are dynamite are the NSA blueprints.  Give a man a leak, he'll undermine you for a day.  Teach a man to pry, he'll take your power away.  The day he divulges those blueprints is the day he digs his grave, which is why (I imagine) he has said he has no interest in doing so.

      But the next stage being set is for a reliable public capacity to bypass systematic state secrecy.  These are the dog days of the FOIA, and the government has only itself to blame.

      "And now we know that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob." -- FDR

      by Mogolori on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 09:52:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Very true, Richard Lyon (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, lotlizard

    Insightful and well-put. I can't add much since you've really nailed it here... the issue of big data and Big brother and big business make for one Hell of a trifecta.

    I prefer life in analog, but it's very, very hard to go back.

    Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

    by mahakali overdrive on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 09:36:27 PM PDT

    •  I really don't think we can go back. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lotlizard

      The world moves on. There are real risks to all this and I have no vision of where it is leading. The only thing that I am sure of is that the people telling us to just trust the government and corporations are seriously deluded.

  •  as one of those geeks (0+ / 0-)

    like me point out that Quantum Computing is likely a decade   or longer from reality. That is assuming it actually pans out or something better doesn't come along.

    In the time that I have been given,
    I am what I am
    Shop Kos Katalogue or the Parrot gets it

    by duhban on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 11:57:49 PM PDT

  •  Big Data funding problem (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, greenbell, lotlizard

    IMHO the major problem with the funding of Big Data is tat it kills the funding of all other scientific research.  Dubya cut the NSF funding Obama is killing it.  
    So we may be able to handle  more data but at the expense of new data.

  •  They say knowledge = power, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lotlizard

    then perhaps the total knowledge provided by big data = absolute power, and we know(?) absolute power corrupts absolutely. I fear the true sociopaths of the 1% are indeed looking into solving the problems of turning the big data they have into the absolute power they desire.

  •  CDC and Google (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lotlizard

    From a 2010 article published at the CDC Internet Search Limitations and Pandemic Influenza, Singapore

    In the past few years, several publications have reported that Internet search queries may usefully supplement other, traditional surveillance programs for infectious diseases (1–3). The philanthropic arm of Google offers Flu Trends, a site that provides up-to-date estimates of influenza activity in 20 countries of the Pacific Rim and Europe (4) by using data mining techniques to find good predictors of historic influenza indicators (1).

    This service has yet to be extended to other countries and other diseases because access to official surveillance data is required, among other reasons. However, another Google service, Insights for Search, enables users to find and download time-series data of relative counts of arbitrary searches for a large number of countries (5). Pelat et al. have shown that a few, well-chosen searches on Google Insights provide data that closely correlate with French surveillance data for seasonal influenza, chickenpox, and gastroenteritis (3). Although Internet searches appear to be a promising tool for public health surveillance, our experience from using Google Insights in the context of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 in Singapore suggests it has important limitations.

    Here is a link to Google Flu Trends
    We've found that certain search terms are good indicators of flu activity. Google Flu Trends uses aggregated Google search data to estimate current flu activity around the world in near real-time.

    Each week, millions of users around the world search for health information online. As you might expect, there are more flu-related searches during flu season, more allergy-related searches during allergy season, and more sunburn-related searches during the summer. You can explore all of these phenomena using Google Insights for Search. But can search query trends provide the basis for an accurate, reliable model of real-world phenomena?

    We have found a close relationship between how many people search for flu-related topics and how many people actually have flu symptoms. Of course, not every person who searches for "flu" is actually sick, but a pattern emerges when all the flu-related search queries are added together. We compared our query counts with traditional flu surveillance systems and found that many search queries tend to be popular exactly when flu season is happening. By counting how often we see these search queries, we can estimate how much flu is circulating in different countries and regions around the world. Our results have been published in the journal Nature.

    “We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.” - Winston Chuchill

    by se portland on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 05:59:33 AM PDT

  •  Equipment on premises (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, lotlizard, koNko

    I've been following all your diaries on the NSA scandal, Richard, including the ones before I joined here. You've been doing an excellent job tracking all the details.

    What I'm wondering is why there's been next to no noise across the Internet about the "equipment on company premises" revealed in the most recent round of WaPo slides.

    I'm having a hard time trying to reconcile the "direct access" denials, the "SFTP" claims, and the "legal process" claims with the need to have equipment on company premises.

    Something stinks here, especially in light of the recent Microsoft details.

    "Yes We Can!" -- Barack Obama

    by Sucker Politics on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 06:04:04 AM PDT

    •  There has been discussion about this. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lotlizard

      It gets drowned out in the flame wars about Obama and Snowden. The information about the connections between NSA and the internet companies and the telcos is probably contained in the records of the FISA court. Getting those made public is the most likely way of finding out how it works.

    •  Actually there was at the time (0+ / 0-)

      My diary here recounts some history and you may refer to Room 641A and the various links in that part of the diary, you get to the story.

      Coda: Congress gave the Telecos retroactive immunity and the data mining continues.

      400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

      by koNko on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 03:14:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hate to pick, but exabytes is a starting point (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, lotlizard

    Actually, the new NSA storage farm in Utah is designed to process exabytes per day and store yottabytes.

    yottabyte = one septillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) or 1024 bytes

    Now regarding the concerns of Big Data sharing and Cloud users, I'm a member of The Guardian Data Network and just completed the quarterly questionnaire yesterday. Figuring big on this quarterly survey were issues of data security and how the recent revelations are likely to impact policy and adoption of cloud services and data sharing for Big Data analytics.

    Obviously this has had a chilling effect on how individuals are looking at the cloud and now too companies.

    I think most people won't abandon their current practices wholesale, but I do expect some impacts on social media and what sites users chose.

    In that respect, some leading US companies have much to lose if they cannot regain the trust of users.

    400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

    by koNko on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 06:25:33 AM PDT

    •  In practice (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko

      how realistic is it to regard them as US companies in the world of a globalized internet. Do people in Germany or Brazil have an alternative to dealing with Google?

      •  There is actually a lot of resistance (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lotlizard

        At least in the area of privacy, where the EU in general and Germany in particular have stronger laws and a history of penalizing Google and Microsoft in particular, and things just got worse for them.

        I doubt they would suffer any immediate significant losses, but it certainly opens the doors for competitors, and with the trend of siting data centers in cold countries, this could certainly give a boost to EU cloud service providers to compete for more global business.

        What make Europe attractive is it is a heterogeneous region of smaller countries verses a monolith such as the USA or China, for example. This makes the EU a bit less threatening.

        If I was selling data services for a European company now, my FUD campaign would be brutal. So many new questions to ask in such a short time - the table has flipped at least for the near turn.

        Anyway, looks like Millennials are beginning to cool a bit on social media as they start to work and this spying crap is getting some traction.

        400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

        by koNko on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 06:56:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  From what I have been able to gather (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lotlizard, koNko

          about the secret negotiations between the US and the EU over the proposed trans-Atlantic a primary agenda is to dilute the stronger regulations.

          •  Yes. (0+ / 0-)

            But that was before this thing blew-up, and now that is a specific point of interest in the negotiations and one with potential to cause a rift between the UK and others, particularly Germany.

            Quite clearly the US and UK have been in bed on this for decades and have a special relationship they will protect. This might have been encouraged or tolerated in the past, just as Cold War bases in Germany were, but the nature of cyber spying is different and this issue becomes divisive.

            This Article goes to the heart of the matter of UK and German divisions, with Merkel calling for EU solidarity on regulations and the UK arguing for the regulatory "balance" (dilution) you refer to:

            Merkel added: "I expect a clear promise from the American government that in the future they will observe German law on German territory. We are friendly partners. We are in a defence alliance and we must be able to rely on each other."

            The European justice commissioner called on all EU member states to follow Merkel's lead on data protection reform. A draft directive was presented by the commission in January 2012 and EU officials hope it can be finalised before the European elections next year. It has formed one of the most controversial parts of the US-EU trade negotiations.

            "I would find it helpful if the European council in October – which will deal with the digital single market – could address this matter and speed up the work in council on this important matter," said Reding.

            The issue of US-UK internet surveillance is also to be raised at an informal meeting of European justice and home affairs ministers in Vilnius on Thursday and Friday this week.

            The UK justice minister Lord McNally, who will be at the meeting on Friday, gave a clear indication that Britain was likely to reject Merkel's call: "The government wants to see EU data protection legislation that protects the civil liberties of individuals while allowing for economic growth and innovation. These should be achieved in tandem, not at the expense of one or the other.

            "We do not believe the current European Union proposals strike the right balance. We are negotiating for EU legislation that contains less prescription and cost burdens while providing greater flexibility for member states to tailor legislation according to national tradition and practice."

            Britain has so far played a crucial role in blocking European agreement on the new data protection regime.

            400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

            by koNko on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 09:55:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What I wonder about (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              koNko

              is if she and Holland are saying one thing in public and the opposite in secret negotiations. I've been following EU politics for a long time and it has its own special variety of dog and pony show.

              •  I'm sure they are (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Richard Lyon

                But Merkel is facing an election and Holland is ... well, a fucking Socialist that eats stinky cheese and is living in sin.

                Merkel is not exactly a flaming Liberal, but she is, actually, from the East and supposedly passed the anti-Stasi smell test recently when the Green press was digging dirt, so she can probably express a fair amount of outrage without looking too ridiculous.

                Holland cannot lose staking the position he has. French. Different. It's a matter of pride, and everyone tolerates this behavior from them because they have Paris, etc.

                What is Obama going to do, slap import duties on BMWs and wine no one can afford now except his big ticket campaign contributors?

                World keeps turning.

                400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

                by koNko on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 09:56:42 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  The other one I was thinking of (0+ / 0-)

            This article in Der Spiegal outlines some EU discontent.

            Of course, where it goes is another matter, but let's at least say they got some leverage.

            400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

            by koNko on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 03:04:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Addenda (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon, lotlizard

      By the way, I have to say I am personally skeptical of the NSA actually installing up to a yottabyte in this one facility any time soon if ever, but that is what some reliable sources reported as a figure for a long term plan. However, I wonder if that should be the entire storage of the NSA verses just Utah.

      And to scale it, Cisco's  Visual Networking Index forecasts IP traffic (not storage, which is greater) at 1.0 zettabyte by 2015 and 1.4 zettabyte by 2017.

      Citation

      400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

      by koNko on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 06:45:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "When privacy is compromised... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lotlizard, koNko

    the problems can go far beyond the exposure of illegal activity or embarrassing information... (emphasis mine)

    .....It can provide the government with a tremendous amount of power over its people. It can undermine trust and chill free speech and association. It can make people vulnerable to abuse of their information and further intrusions into their lives.

    Even if a person is doing nothing wrong, in a free society, that person shouldn’t have to justify every action that government officials might view as suspicious. A key component of freedom is not having to worry about how to explain oneself all the time...

    Data capture and storage capabilities are constantly increasing and there is a tremendous amount of data available on individuals.  But privacy laws and legal restrictions haven't kept pace with the technology.  

    For proof that the current surveillance programs are ripe for abuse, Americans need only look at what preceded them.

    Since we learned that the government has been collecting and storing Americans’ call data for years...(Congress members)...and James Clapper...have been trying to claim it is not as bad as it sounds...

    In other words, the government’s response amounts to “trust us...”

    ...history reminds us that the government has abused surveillance authorizations in the past, as it did when it used COINTELPRO to spy on dissidents decades ago. It’s also true because one of the direct predecessors of this program proved ripe for abuse...

    In an interview with Charlie Rose, the President said he wants to have "a national conversation on these two programs", but as this Atlantic article (link)  notes, it's not that easy, because:  
    ...Both the government and big business have these massive data sets. But only Silicon Valley, it seems, can talk about it publicly — Congress cannot. Too bad the federal government is the side with police power...
  •  Guess we are all just GUPPY FOOD for Databases. (0+ / 0-)

    We are all DATABASE NATION now!

    Fighting Liberal at
    “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” --Gandhi:

    by smokey545 on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 09:36:30 AM PDT

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