CIA Presentation on Big Data — Social Networks, Internet, and Cell Phones the CIA’s Best Friend?

This video features the Central Intelligence Agency’s chief technical officer, Ira Hunt, speaking and giving an overall interesting presentation to a group of techies at a conference in New York City recently.  This is not some kind of top secret video we’ve somehow gotten our hands on.  This is publicly-accessible information now.  Put simply, the CIA is no longer that concerned about letting you know that almost everything you do is being monitored.

While the reach of “Big Data” can get to almost anything it desires, there are some things that make you especially vulnerable to CIA surveillance.  As you  might have guessed, the Internet is front and center.  Email and especially social media services, like Facebook and Twitter, are the CIA’s best friend when it comes to surveillance.  After all, CIA veterans have publicly scoffed about how Facebook gets people to willingly tell things they used to spend months gathering data to try to find out.  Cell phones round out the list as the best friend of those that may wish to know where you are and what you are up to.

Probably the most chilling part here from a conspiracy theorist perspective is Mr. Hunt’s description of what data is with respect to what the CIA is trying to do.  He says that a piece of data is only as good as what it can be connected to in terms of future events.  So, in his words, the CIA’s mission is to “fundamentally try to collect everything and hang onto it forever.”