The watchers in Washington are watching our data again (still). Only this time, the surveillance is being well advertised. On Thursday afternoon, the White House published a blog post to announce the start of a working group tasked with reviewing how data collection and analysis by public and private entities affect people’s privacy — more fallout from those pesky revelations about NSA surveillance. (The fox guarding the hen house, you say? Let’s not be too cynical out of the gate.)
As MIT Technology Review writer Tom Simonite explained in this week’s lead Searchlight item, the White House’s goal is to identify areas in which policy might be required to “restrain the technology and business of big data.” Sounds like a useful undertaking — if done well. Imposing policy on the collection and uses of big data is a very big task.