How Big Data Could Help the U.S. Predict the Next Snowden

National Intelligence Director James Clapper, at Tuesday’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, asserted (again) that malevolent insiders with access to top secret material, like Edward Snowden, constituted a top threat to our nation’s national security. The lawmakers agreed and pressed Clapper to explain how he was changing the practices within his office and across the intelligence community to prevent another Snowden-scale data breach. One key step that Clapper outlined: our nation’s top intelligence folks will become subject to much more surveillance in the future.

Clapper said he wanted to put more intelligence community communication into a single, massive (enterprise-sized) cloud environment in order to, as he described it, “take advantage of cloud computing and the necessary security enhancements” therein. There are plenty of good reasons for any department head to want that, but chief among them for Clapper is that moving to the cloud will allow monitors to better “tag the data, [and] tag the people, so that you can monitor where the data is and who has access to it on a real-time basis.”

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