Access and Feeds

Dark Side of Big Data: Signs of Big Brother as Police Adopt Data Techniques

By Dick Weisinger

A dark side to the growth in the use of Big Data is potential abuse of data privacy.  One worry is that governments, even with potentially good intentions, may use data as a means of tracking and monitoring its citizens.  An early example of this is the activity of the data-mining company Palantir, founded by Peter Thiel. Palantir now works with ICE and local police forces, like in Los Angeles (LADP), to collect data and to “identify and deter people likely to commit crimes” and preemptively stop them. LADP, for example, extensively uses the services of Palantir.

Palantir has created a massive repository of information that includes public records, traffic data, financial documents, travel bookings, social media information, and phone recordings.  Palantir is believed to have worked with Cambridge Analytica in analyzing  massive amounts of data profiles collected from 87 million Facebook users.

John Pironti, president of IP Architects, said that “as a society we are entering a pivotal moment where we need to decide whether the benefits of sharing our data outweigh the potential downside risks including reduction of privacy and potential behavior manipulation. Individuals like the idea of free services that add value and benefit to their lives, but often do not realize that someone has to pay for those services for them to continue to evolve and be successful. If you are not paying for a product then you are the product.”

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