CIAspace CIAs chief technology officer says your data is being studied

The Central Intelligence Agency’s Chief Technical Officer, Ira Hunt, told a crowd gathered at the GigaOM Structure: Data Conference that his agency is storing as much Internet data as possible.  Hunt says the CIA is even expanding its storage of what he refers to as “really big data”.

Ira Hunt, who serves as the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) chief technology officer, recently made a presentation that raised a few eyebrows. While speaking at the GigaOM Structure: Data Conference on March 20th, he said the CIA is looking to “collect everything and hang onto it forever.”

In all, he spoke for nearly one half hour about how the CIA is looking to expand its goals in storing data and how they can easily expand that storage now to capacities never before imagined. 

Before the time of computers it was a daunting task of trying to connect all the information together.  Now the mission of amassing such a large amount of data means that any new intelligence gathered can be connected more easily with very similar or older intelligence.    

In regards to that intelligence gathering in cyberspace, Hunt explained in part by saying, “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. 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”.

It was made clear to the audience that we are currently in the "high noon of the information age”. With mobile devices and their assorted sensors such as cameras, GPS and constant Internet connections, he shows that it is those devices where a good percentage of most data is retrieved from, and that “…it is nearly within our grasp to be able to compute on all human generated information.”

To back up his point on how so much data is quickly being gathered in one place, he used the example of the social network, Facebook.  He clearly points out the fact that >1 billion users are on the site and that >35% of all digital photographs from around the world are on the site as well. 

In reference to new technologies, Hunt says the legal system is woefully behind.  Internet users need to be aware of this rapidly advancing technical age – an age that is almost impossible to keep up with. In conclusion he told the audience, "You should be asking the question of, what are your rights and who owns your data.”

Source: GigaOM Data:Structure conference, Wednesday, March 20, 2013.