Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Troves of data, but no information

So despite thousands of employees at the NSA poring over records of our phone conversations with our grandmas, cross-referencing our Netflix accounts to our video game purchases at Best Buy and mapping our personal networks through agorithms of our friends’ links to cellphone towers, they can’t keep a guy who hears voices, shoots guns in blind rages, can’t sleep for days at a time, and tells co-workers he has PTSD from walking into a secure military facility in the nation’s capitol carrying a rifle, grabbing a pistol once inside, and wiping out a dozen civilian employees.

Why should we be surprised? This is the same Super-Security State that allowed two dozen Saudi religious fanatics to roam around the country learning how to pilot airplanes (but not land them) while is desperately looked for an excuse to launch a war of conquest against a non-existent Iraqi enemy. Plus ├ža change. . .

Our leaders insist that if we keep doing what we’re doing, only moreso, we will somehow magically obtain different results. Their sole reaction to these incidents is to call for and insist upon yet more surveillance and police powers instead of examining the flaws of the underlying model.

A government terrified of its own citizens and compulsively piling up every kind of data on them ‘just in case’ is incapable of sifting its vast terabytes of meaningless information coherently to identify real threats. The blunderbuss ‘know-everything’ approach has led to hundreds of thousands of employees now sitting around in cubicles piling up information that they cannot meaningfully analyze. Then, failing to find anything useful but needing urgently to justify their existence and preserve their jobs, the same apparatus cannot resist sending out its own agents to stir up terrorist plots that it can then ‘unmask’.

But finding real psychos with guns? That’s asking too much.


Anonymous said...

So true and yet so disgusting. Apparently, someone in the police was called to a hotel where he was staying and freaking out. So the police came, took lots of info from the guy then passed it on the his employers, the Navy, and they did nothing! This was just last week...this is from Maureen.

Anonymous said...

In this vein, it might be noted that our vast surveillance apparatus has failed to stop the three most recent massacres in this country - Sandy Hook, Boston Marathon, and now this one at the Navy Yard.


Julia Smith said...

add me to your mailing list, please, this is essential reading!!!!!