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DARPA Fears Big Data Could Become Big Threat

Soulskill posted 1 year,18 days | from the we've-discovered-that-al-qaeda-is-incorporating-'data'-into-their-plans dept.

Government 87

Nerval's Lobster writes "For most businesses, data analytics presents an opportunity. But for DARPA, the military agency responsible for developing new technology, so-called 'Big Data' could represent a big threat. DARPA is apparently looking to fund researchers who can 'investigate the national security threat posed by public data available either for purchase or through open sources.' That means developing tools that can evaluate whether a particular public dataset will have a significant impact on national security, as well as blunt the force of that impact if necessary. 'The threat of active data spills and breaches of corporate and government information systems are being addressed by many private, commercial, and government organizations,' reads DARPA's posting on the matter. 'The purpose of this research is to investigate data sources that are readily available for any individual to purchase, mine, and exploit.' As Foreign Policy points out, there's a certain amount of irony in the government soliciting ways to reduce its vulnerability to data exploitation. 'At the time government officials are assuring Americans they have nothing to fear from the National Security Agency poring through their personal records,' the publication wrote, 'the military is worried that Russia or al Qaeda is going to wreak nationwide havoc after combing through people's personal records.'"

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The only good thing that could come out of this... (5, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | 1 year,18 days | (#44566925)

Is the government declaring Facebook a national security threat because of all the information people post on it, and having it shut down.

Re:The only good thing that could come out of this (4, Interesting)

GLMDesigns (2044134) | 1 year,18 days | (#44566999)

No. But it certainly makes you wonder what sort of analysis is currently being run by our government. As processing speeds increase (a thousand fold in the next 10-15 years) such analysis could be run by many organizations.

Re:The only good thing that could come out of this (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567601)

No. But it certainly makes you wonder what sort of analysis is currently being run by our government. As processing speeds increase (a thousand fold in the next 10-15 years) such analysis could be run by many organizations.

But unlike the US government, Al Qaeda probably doesn't have access to people's profiles if they've jacked up the privacy settings. Besides, there's a million+ ways to create havoc in the US without accessing that data.

It's inevitable (1)

ThatAblaze (1723456) | 1 year,18 days | (#44568143)

We are talking about the military here. If they conclude that big data is a threat what will their go-to response be? That's right.. BIGGER DATA!

Just think, now we can finally find a use for the ridiculous number of potential addresses in IPv6!

Re:It's inevitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44574069)

Of course. We cannot allow a big data gap. The ruskies could destroy us all!

Re:The only good thing that could come out of this (1)

davester666 (731373) | 1 year,18 days | (#44571761)

This is basically a report about how the NSA is going to start blackmailing Congress into increasing its budget.

Re:The only good thing that could come out of this (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567009)

Is the government declaring Facebook a national security threat because of all the information people post on it, and having it shut down.

Or enacting laws on what data companies can collect about you and what they're legally allowed to do with it. You know, actual privacy laws and laws around data security.

But that won't happen -- because it would cut into corporate profits, and because it would cut down on some of the sources the NSA themselves use.

This in the end will be DARPA saying "how can we collect all of this information while still trying to keep it out of the hands of them." And nothing at all will change.

Re:The only good thing that could come out of this (3, Interesting)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567429)

It also won't happen because it's so easy for companies to argue that the information is voluntarily being shared with the company. And the thing is, the company is actually correct in observing this. As to what they may do with that information, well, it's moot as long as the government can demand it at any time.

Re:The only good thing that could come out of this (4, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567657)

It also won't happen because it's so easy for companies to argue that the information is voluntarily being shared with the company. And the thing is, the company is actually correct in observing this.

Of course, that's bullshit, but they'll claim it.

As an experiment, I just went to the LA Times website. By your theory, if my bullshit blockers hadn't blocked revsci.com, gigya.com, newsinc.com, jumptime.com, and brightcove.com -- then I will have voluntarily provided information to these fuckers.

So, no, just because sites put web bugs, ads, polls, and all sorts of 3rd party shit in their web pages that might not be obvious -- that doesn't mean there was anything voluntary (or even informed) in this. It means a sneaky bunch of marketing assholes are in there without asking me, and they feel self entitled to do so.

Re:The only good thing that could come out of this (1)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,18 days | (#44568203)

you and I agree on this matter. I'm simply pointing out the arguments that will be (successfully) used. I use the same sort of blockers for the same sort of reasons.

Re:The only good thing that could come out of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44568605)

are you using firewall rules? or a hosts file to block that stuff?

Re:The only good thing that could come out of this (1)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,18 days | (#44569273)

are you using firewall rules? or a hosts file to block that stuff?

Some firewall rules, some hosts, and some extensions.

Firefox: NoScript, AdBlockPlus, DoNotTrackMe

Chrome: ScriptSafe, DoNotTrackMe, AdBlockPlus

Re:The only good thing that could come out of this (1)

rtb61 (674572) | 1 year,18 days | (#44570143)

You have just described pretty much the problem they fear. Via the publicly available data, those individuals most likely to accept bribes or those most likely to be readily blackmailed can be tracked down and exploited. No matter how good your security when someone sells company passwords, or someone is extorted into handing it over, your security defunct. A whole range of direct access hacks become available once those weal links have been exposed.

Re:The only good thing that could come out of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44567511)

This in the end will be DARPA saying "how can we collect all of this information while still trying to keep it out of the hands of them." And nothing at all will change.

Well, wrong. They can issue a strict privacy law with specific exceptions for NSA/CIA/FBI. No problem for a government. Government ties to corporations might preclude it though.

But make no mistake. Any big data analysis the big corporations can do, is available to foreign companies as well. And, of course, foreign companies that are fronts for chinese/russian/arab spy/terror setups.

Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44567059)

Big companies will data mine for the government. It's the small companies that don't give up data that will be killed, because of terrorism or whatever.

So not much good then (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44567151)

You take down Facebook, people will just move on to the next platform. Then the next. Then the next. End result is government going on an endless goose chase the same way we do for piracy.

Re:So not much good then (1)

SeaFox (739806) | 1 year,18 days | (#44569487)

If you put a stop to social networking sites by design that's less likely to happen. People will move back to forms of communication that existed before Facebook. There was a web and sharing of news before those sites existed, remember?

And the result will be people communicating with methods that are more private by default. Like email and IM.
That will reduce the public dissemination of the information, what the idea was all along.

Re:The only good thing that could come out of this (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567193)

I would welcome governments shutting down social websites, but after that they would probably start thinking about shutting down any websites where people gather, such as arcadecontrols.com

Because you know, someone could block traffic trying to bring home his Frogger machine that's been rigged to a car battery to keep his high score alive.

Point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44567203)

Is the government declaring Facebook a national security threat because of all the information people post on it, and having it shut down.

Yeah, and?

I don't see the problem.

Re:Point? (1)

SeaFox (739806) | 1 year,18 days | (#44569447)

The point is they're more likely to come to a conclusion that's much worse.

Like they be given a direct backdoor to the whole system so they can go in and edit anything at will if they need to remove information terrorists might make use of.
Like requiring automatic censorship software be installed they can use to define terms and phrases that will automatically notify them or change the content for them.

This will inevitably have a scope creep where you just plain can't talk about some things the government doesn't like on social networking sites, so more erosion of First Amendment rights under the rule of "National Security" put to the test in farce "secret courts".

Re:The only good thing that could come out of this (1)

ImdatS (958642) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567669)

No, but with all the public data available on social networks, the web itself, and the data that you can purchase, given enough computing power (whatever that may mean), I am pretty sure one could identify national security situations.

If a terrorist organization or any US-unfriendly organization has enough money to buy the required computing power, then collect the vast amounts of public data available about individuals in the US on an ongoing basis and try to identify certain patterns, it could, IMHO, identify potential targets for attacking the US in one way or another.

One of the key problems for these organizations, I believe, is not to find the "right weapon" to use for an attack, but rather to find the "right weakness" where the right weapon could have the highest impact. Unfortunately, it is the traditional "Return on Investment" calculation that they need to do.

I believe DARPA is right to understand whether this is possible with publicly available data of individuals in the US and it could be a very interesting research and analysis topic. Given enough time and computing power/resources, I'm pretty sure I could myself identify certain attack vectors.

For quite some time, I was always interested in identifying possible "attack vectors", whether of IT systems or social systems. Just for the "fun of identifying". Seeing that DARPA finally recognizes this problem public is not bad, as there are probably some huge possibilities using Big Data.

Let's not just dismiss this and mix it with PRISM/NSA or so - this could be really interesting and could help everybody by also identifying ways to protect against such attack vectors.

Big Data and Brother (5, Insightful)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,18 days | (#44566969)

I'm definitely concerned about big data, but the big data that concerns me the most is in the hands of the NSA.

Re:Big Data and Brother (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567037)

I'm definitely concerned about big data, but the big data that concerns me the most is in the hands of the NSA.

Who can trivially demand it from the corporations we mean by 'big data'.

As long as those companies are legally allowed to collect it, the NSA is legally allowed to demand it from them.

Re:Big Data and Brother (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567295)

I'm definitely concerned about big data, but the big data that concerns me the most is in the hands of the NSA.

Who can trivially demand it from the corporations we mean by 'big data'.

As long as those companies are legally allowed to collect it, the NSA is legally allowed to demand it from them.

...and the Chinese army and Russian mob can continue to leak it from the NSA....

Of course, both groups are now seriously into growing their social media app footprint for cellphones, so they can dip into everyone's personal data that way as well. I'm surprised the US hasn't tried this yet; seems like Israel, South Korea, China, Saudi Arabia and Russia are doing it (and possibly others, but I haven't noticed the others gaming the App Store with social media tools that ask for more info than they need).

Re:Big Data and Brother (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44567707)

I'm not. The guys who pulled off the Boston marathon attacks were well known and in the system and the NSA didn't know jack shit. The general public has absolutely nothing to worry about. The truth is the NSA doesn't know anything but they want you to think they are omniscient.

Re:Big Data and Brother (1)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,18 days | (#44568119)

You actually kind of help my point here. There's a key issue you just touched on that I don't think you realize. They have this gigantic system, they claim it works, they failed to stop the Boston bombers, but they have all this data and are using it for something. Given that this event was followed by what essentially amounted to the military occupation of an American city (regardless of what you want to call the troops used), I feel quite justified in being concerned.

Re:Big Data and Brother (2)

Sique (173459) | 1 year,18 days | (#44568579)

But that's exactly the problem. If the NSA don't know jack shit about the real threats, what about the thwarted threads we hear so much about? How many of them are false positives? I remember a Robert Sheckley story (Ticket to Tranai), where it was the task of government officials to kill potential mass murderer. And when the lead character asked a government official what happens if they kill the wrong guy, the answer was: Can't happen. Whoever is killed by a government official is a potential mass murderer by definition. Somehow I get the impression that's just a slightly exaggerated version of what is happening here. The big data from the NSA sends a random signal, the drones fly and hit, and then the target persons are terrorist leaders by definition.

Re:Big Data and Brother (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44571597)

I'm more concerned by corporate collection than governmental. Governments are selfish: once they get that data, they're loath to ever let it out of their sticky fingers. but corporations will sell your life history for a few pence more than it costs to power the servers they use to do so.

Re:Big Data and Brother (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44572717)

Corporations can do some things, but a corporation is much less likely to make a person disappear.

mitigate the threat vs "shut it down" (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567007)

If DARPA is trying to mitigate the threat then this effort deserves support.

If they are looking a way to "shut it down" then they're being way naive. This is happening (among other reasons) because of Moore's Law and you aren't going to change it.

We've but a woefully inept government and bad leadership at all levels of society, so I really don't know which this proposal aims at.

(and I haven't read TFA).

Re:mitigate the threat vs "shut it down" (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567313)

If DARPA is trying to mitigate the threat then this effort deserves support.

If they are looking a way to "shut it down" then they're being way naive. This is happening (among other reasons) because of Moore's Law and you aren't going to change it.

We've but a woefully inept government and bad leadership at all levels of society, so I really don't know which this proposal aims at.

(and I haven't read TFA).

DARPA is definitely attempting to mitigate the threat; of course, once they produce their recommendations, the executive branch may decide that the best way to mitigate is to shut it down (or congress might). DARPA has no power in their own right; they do the investigations, test techniques, develop hardware/software, and then hand over the results to the decision makers to (mis)use as they see fit.

Re:mitigate the threat vs "shut it down" (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567471)

DARPA is definitely attempting to mitigate the threat; of course, once they produce their recommendations, the executive branch may decide that the best way to mitigate is to shut it down (or congress might).

And the wholesale undermining of the First Amendment to the US Constitution continues apace...

Re:mitigate the threat vs "shut it down" (1)

Kjella (173770) | 1 year,18 days | (#44568571)

If they are looking a way to "shut it down" then they're being way naive. This is happening (among other reasons) because of Moore's Law and you aren't going to change it.

"Big Data" is more of a legal issue than an technical issue, where are all these sources of data coming from and is the subject really aware of how much they're being profiled "behind the scenes" by putting together what appears to the customer like disjoint data sets? It's one thing that the baker knows what bread I like and the butcher what meat, another to find out the whole town has been comparing notes on me. Sadly I probably signed away my soul or at least the right to control that information deep down in some terms of service, though I probably had no choice in the matter as it seems rather standard these days.

Re:mitigate the threat vs "shut it down" (1)

admdrew (782761) | 1 year,18 days | (#44571839)

If they are looking a way to "shut it down" then they're being way naive.

I also didn't RTFA, but I think (hope?) DARPA is interested primarily to mitigate any threat. The summary's quote referencing "the threat of active data spills and breaches of corporate and government information systems" IS something our country should be concerned about (excluding situations involving corporate/governmental misbehavior), and the optimist in me hopes that our government is acting toward the greater good

no shit all that data collection is bad (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44567033)

but it is federal, state and local governments that are the people's main enemy here, not the russians or chinese.

Well, naturally... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44567041)

It's the ability to destroy anyone's career or political ambitions through selective "summarization", and to win with certainty over any competing business in any industry with unmatchable demographic and competitive analysis information.

Of course the NSA wants to be the only people with this particular "weapon", and likewise the only people their corporate cronies' revolving-doors are open for.

Re:Well, naturally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44567573)

It's the ability to destroy anyone's career or political ambitions through selective "summarization", and to win with certainty over any competing business in any industry with unmatchable demographic and competitive analysis information.

Of course the NSA wants to be the only people with this particular "weapon", and likewise the only people their corporate cronies' revolving-doors are open for.

The 1% just got a major advantage over the populous.

Re:Well, naturally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44570185)

It's the ability to destroy anyone's career or political ambitions through selective "summarization", and to win with certainty over any competing business in any industry with unmatchable demographic and competitive analysis information.

Of course the NSA wants to be the only people with this particular "weapon", and likewise the only people their corporate cronies' revolving-doors are open for.

Good intel is not responsible for selective reporting and outright lies. How does this mesh with the popular "politicians should have no secrets" line of thought anyway, explain THAT.

Your part about the NSA providing business intelligence just doesn't make sense at all, what are you talking about?

Re:Well, naturally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44570515)

It is misdirection.
It is naming a new evil to pin every criticism of our own government domestic spying programs on.
"Oh you are worried about us doing X, well let me tell you who you should really worry about..."
At the same time handily pick up large swathes of data under the guide of protection and security.
It is yet another unchecked power grab.

Some would argue that ... (1)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567057)

the government having their hands on Big Data is the real danger.

DARPA - It is too late - Adversaries Got It! (2)

aisnota (98420) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567081)

Considering all the discussions about 'big data' and DARPA is actually in this rare instance way behind the curve.

My own data analysis of what has happened says that the combination of processing and storage in the potential adversarial hands is so great, a set of counter measures is really hard to find now.

There are extrinsic factors, but DARPA is far from the right theoretical understanding. Albeit, the DARPA research that helped propel big data, the ARPA-NET has spawned so much, so quickly it is nearly hopeless and now requires a brand new paradigm to get that tiger by the tail for security.

FYI, make sure Snowden gets a pardon as soon as possible, that will help!

Re:DARPA - It is too late - Adversaries Got It! (2)

dywolf (2673597) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567595)

i dont think its that they are behind the curve.
its not about protectuing us (citizens) from big data. its about protecting "the nation" from data spills/breaches, which means its a combination of both big data, and security, and mitigating the threat of exposure.

essentially big data has a lot of data. we know this.
security is never perfect, breaches are going to happen. we also know this.

other countries can profit from these breaches of massive data, because it gives them additional leverage to force the hand of would be collaborators/spies. THIS is what the artical is about, what DARPA is worried about. there are 4 main motivations used by agents to motivate their assets to spy: greed, revenge, idealism, blackmail. more data makes it easier to identify people whom can be targeted and exploited to work on your behalf.

Re:DARPA - It is too late - Adversaries Got It! (1)

aisnota (98420) | 1 year,18 days | (#44568291)

So you think that they have not already been doing this, even pre-big data?

> DARPA is worried about. there are 4 main motivations used by agents to motivate their assets to spy:
> 1. greed,
> 2. revenge,
> 3. idealism,
> 4. blackmail.
> more data

Several of the scandalous situations revolve around our military personal compromised as assets of an opposition. This will only repeat more efficiently with big data at the forefront as the toolbox.

But those tools are out there now, the big data sets in many cases are even built in another country.

So that ship has sailed.

 

As a business owner.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44567097)

I can hit: ChoicePoint, Credit Bureaus, various database services that aggregate all that data and then some - like court records, insurance claims - and then there's Google.

And if I can't find anything or very little, then I think you're an illegal alien - with all the legal trappings with that.

So folks, unless employment laws get less restricting (ADA, EEOC, etc ..) and Immigration laws get reformed, you're just fucked because corporate America is spying on you and you agreed to it when: you got that credit card, that loan, that student loan, and when you applied for that job. Yep, it's circular, baby! Apply for a job makes you vulnerable!

This only applies in the US of A.

Oh! Let's not get into the horseshit of FaceBook or LinkedIN!

Re:As a business owner.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44567109)

because freedom!

Re:As a business owner.... (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567409)

because freedom!

But we all know that freedom fries.

Re:As a business owner.... (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567393)

I can hit: ChoicePoint, Credit Bureaus, various database services that aggregate all that data and then some - like court records, insurance claims - and then there's Google.

And if I can't find anything or very little, then I think you're an illegal alien - with all the legal trappings with that.

So folks, unless employment laws get less restricting (ADA, EEOC, etc ..) and Immigration laws get reformed, you're just fucked because corporate America is spying on you and you agreed to it when: you got that credit card, that loan, that student loan, and when you applied for that job. Yep, it's circular, baby! Apply for a job makes you vulnerable!

This only applies in the US of A.

Oh! Let's not get into the horseshit of FaceBook or LinkedIN!

Outside of the US of A, corporate America is spying on you and doesn't have to require you to agree to it. The same goes for the US government. *

* actually, they DO have to require you to agree to it in many countries, but they don't -- just see the spat between Facebook and the Canadian Privacy Commissioner for a simple example. At least the EU is going after Google to some degree.

ITT... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44567117)

ITT: Tards miss the point and get modded "+5, Confirms Groupthink" by making idiotic and irrelevant posts bashing:
- the NSA;
- Pres. Obama;
- Facebook;
- Google;
- Apple;

ITT: Neckbeards who live to whine about their imagined rights to privacy declare that the government should be fully transparent and not allowed any secrets, while missing the multitudinous shades of gray where some secrets are necessary for any society to function, and missing the additional irony that a "transparent" government would do more to invade their privacy than any Eddy "Good Times" Snowden clones at the NSA.

ITT: Idiots don't even realize what the DARPA project is about, and why it's a legitimate area of research and concern for national security.

ITT: Fools pretend that massive "public data" sets -- published by the government as a result of DEMANDS FOR TRANSPARENCY from the 2nd group listed above -- can contain lots of actionable information, and as the Netflix fiasco showed (cited by the DARPA proposal itself), can often be easily - even trivially - de-anonymized.

But yeah, let's just keep shouting about the NSA, rather than actually assess the problem and try to find solutions that don't require us to nuke all of our factories back to a mid-1800's agrarian culture.

Re:ITT... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44567167)

ITT: Counterculture asshats who think this is 4chan.

Write like a human being. What's next? Greentext?

Re:ITT... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44567237)

> think this is 4chan

Given the posts long on whining, snark, and baseless assertions versus the posts containing logic, rationality, or anything resembling a point... I'd say it's a lot closer to 4chan than it is "News for Nerds."

Also, greentexted, motherfucker.

Re:ITT... (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567555)

He's (at least partially) right, though: most of the responders are going on about the NSA and government spying without realizing that this project has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any of that. The project is to see if potential enemy states (or terrorists, anyone interested in exploiting a vulnerability) can, using large sets of easily available information, find potential national vulnerabilities (at the economical, social, and military level) of another country. Maybe a pattern that indicates a strike at x factory would disrupt y supply chain, potentially devastating a whole section of the economy. Or maybe that a post on z news site that would prompt mass panic. That kind of thing. Not warrantless wiretaps: the goal is to use information that literally anyone could access, and to find vulnerabilities to an entire country or community, not the life story of singular individuals.

Re:ITT... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44567197)

"multitudinous shades of gray where some secrets are necessary for any society to function"

Name one case where a state secret is necessary for a society to function. Not vague justifications of "because the other guy". An actual, demonstrable necessity.

Re:ITT... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44567999)

Troop dispositions, unit strength & capabilities, weapon system capabilities;

(What, you thought armies were only for offensive operations? Silly goose.)

Details of ongoing diplomatic negotiations.

(What, you thought diplomats were required to tell the truth all the time? Or even that forcing diplomats to tell the truth all the time would be a good thing? You pretty little fool.)

There's 2. Keep the change.

Re:ITT... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44568923)

I said "necessary".

Do away with the military beyond "we have enough nukes to turn your country into glass if you invade our territory", do away with diplomats and diplomatic negotiations. There is nothing that should be said on behalf of a country's citizens that they are not allowed to know about.

I have no doubt one can construct a profitable self-serving institution that has self-generated reasons to offer that they are supposedly necessary. I just haven't seen evidence they are actually necessary.

Re:ITT... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44570793)

Do away with the military beyond "we have enough nukes to turn your country into glass if you invade our territory"

And give everybody the launch codes, detailed technical specs, keys to the silos, and just rely on the honor system!? Yep, no need for secrets there, AT ALL.

do away with diplomats and diplomatic negotiations

The day that happens, you better have a really strong military, because when you eliminate talk as an option, the only thing left is the stick.

By your own argument, these are "necessary." Don't blame me because you're a naive idiot.

Re:ITT... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44567209)

ITT: Pro-government cheerleader defends blatant violations of the constitution. What else is new?

Re:ITT... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44567453)

I don't really see why you're trying to communicate with the ITT on slashdot....

Re:ITT... (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567269)

ITT: Neckbeards who live to whine about their imagined rights to privacy

Yes, they're imaginary. Who needs rights anyway?

Re:ITT... (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567349)

don't even realize what the DARPA project is about, and why it's a legitimate area of research and concern for national security.

Absolutely correct. I don't think 10% of the people posting here even read the linked document. This has nothing to do with "DARPA shutting down Facebook" (whatever the hell that even means). It's about whether or not adversaries could mine big data to determine attack vectors, in the same way advertisers mine big data to determine where to spend their marketing dollars.

For example, could big data tell our enemies where there might be high concentrations of Jews in August? Could big data reveal which bridges have the highest number of heavy trucks on them on Friday afternoons? Correctly mined, big data might be able to provide lots of information about where best to direct terror resources.

Come to think of it, there's a good Tom Clancy or Brad Thor novel in the making here...

Re:ITT... (1)

minstrelmike (1602771) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567967)

If DARPA really wants to figure out where security leaks could originate from big data, I would start by trying to figure out attack vectors into Canada or China thru big data. Thinking you have the NSA big data set might lull you into a false sense that you've scanned all the security vectors ;-)

Re:ITT... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44567819)

Government can still have secrecy, because it is a necessary thing sometimes. But perpetual secrecy? No. Everyone in government has to be answerable to the public in a democracy, and you can't do that if you don't know what people in government are doing. Even if it is a generation later, it MUST become public at some point. Maybe after a few decades the best you can do is decide that you won't be doing things that way ever again, but at least it's an accounting.

I'm fine with *temporary* secrecy for operational reasons, but it's got to have an expiry date in a reasonable amount of time, and you have to be able to challenge government to come up with legitimate reasons why something should continue to be secret, otherwise it should be turned over if they can't (hence Freedom of Information requests). This nonsense about National Security Letters that you can't even reveal exist, ever, has got to stop (for example).

Pot, calling Kettle! (3, Insightful)

Ioldanach (88584) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567119)

Big Government is afraid of the damage Big Data could do because it knows the impact of storing and processing massive quantities of data. It has a lot of experience doing this, itself, and is afraid of anyone else doing the same thing.

Re:Pot, calling Kettle! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44568247)

You mean like phone companies themselves looking at calling networks of saaaaay... people working at NSA, or members of congress, or business leaders/lobbyists with ties to government?

or credit card records for our leaders when they purchased salacious programs on DVD or netflix or purchased sexual aids/devices/services? (since we legally can't track video store records?)

Or were you thinking of banking transactions to overseas accounts or less-than-politically-correct organizations?

That kind of data collection?

Whoever would think of doing that in the private sector?

We have all the assurances ensconced in their respective "Terms of use" where it CLEARLY states that they'll share the information with their AFFILIATES! (ie, whoever may be paying them for that particular information).

You DID click "I agree", didn't you?

Summary is retarded, per usual (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44567133)

If DARPA is looking into this, that means that they are looking at whether the *analytics* applied to publicly or purchasable big datasets could mine information like troop buildup/movements, military targets, etc., etc.

For example, if I'm a subcontractor of a defense contractor and I suddenly post on the Interwebz that I am purchasing 300 million gallons of drone aviation fuel, you might be able to combine that with other little bits of data (e.g. another subcontractor suddenly posts that they are purchasing 15,000 airline tickets to Giblisztan), you might be able to predict that a strike is coming in and react appropriately.

Obviously the DoD and their contractors attempt to make sure that those obvious details above aren't readily available, but you might still be able to piece together US military activities pretty readily from even tiny bits of correlated information that are available.

However, from the original summary:

the publication wrote, 'the military is worried that Russia or al Qaeda is going to wreak nationwide havoc after combing through people's personal records.'

If that's really what was written in the original publication, then whoever wrote that did a terrible fucking job of analyzing what DARPA really wants this for and conveying that in writing, or was just trying to turn this into clickbait/fear-mongering/whatever.

Re:Summary is retarded, per usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44569791)

Reminds me of the time it only took a half hour of googling combined with boredom/curiosity to find the commercial OTS eqivalent of some new synthetic aperature perimeter detection radar installed around area 51 just based on a few photos asking what those things were on some forum. Found a direct visual match, and the company had a nice .pdf with most of the specs. (Whether or not the milspec version is same as their commercial units, who knows? But visually the enclosure and apparent dimensions were the same.)

I wouldn't be too surprised if that person on the forum was some agent trolling about to see how fast such info could be found, but hey the info is public as far as the internet goes and no actual hacks were involved. My only motivation was mostly to put an end to the herp-derp speculation on a thread, and considering that my lazy ass could find the "real deal" - then people much more motivated for other reasons wouldn't really have any problems either.

To be honest though, if the government really doesn't want information like that to be out there, the simple solution is to not contract with companies that put it on the internet on purpose. (And just because their sites seem obscure by catering to government contractors or B2B, doesn't mean the info on them is private. And stuff robots.txt can only do so much if somebody bothers investigating site links past what search engines may come up with.)

Not worried about the enemy (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44567139)

It is unlikely that any enemy will pose a genuine threat to these guys. The real threat is the general public and jail time for what amounts to treason.

Re:Not worried about the enemy (1)

gl4ss (559668) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567229)

well.. I suppose they wouldn't find it too comfortable if big data made it easy to see who broke the constitution...

NSA says, "We EVERYTHING need!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44567155)

All your big data are belong to us. You know, for great national security.

Re:NSA says, "We EVERYTHING need!" (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567509)

Megacorp: Somebody set up us the big data.
POTUS: Main screen turn on.
China: All your dbase are belong to us.
China: You have no chance to survive make your social network.
NSA: 1;DROP TABLE users
NSA: For great justice.

Anyone else notice.. (2)

RavensWing (110204) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567207)

.. that the ad immediately to the right of this was for BIG DATA & ANALYTICS services for IBM? Apropos ad placement humor.

Re:Anyone else notice.. (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567523)

.. that the ad immediately to the right of this was for BIG DATA & ANALYTICS services for IBM? Apropos ad placement humor.

Even better, my quote at the bottom:
"We can found no scientific discipline, nor a healthy profession on the technical mistakes of the Department of Defense and IBM. -- Edsger Dijkstra"

Irony? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44567309)

If anyone is confused about the definition of irony, this is one pretty darn good example.

Way to "pull a Homer", DARPA.

A certain amount of irony? (4, Insightful)

korbulon (2792438) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567331)

Of course by "certain" they mean "obscene".

A looming danger is that everyone in these institutions becomes so zealous in the execution of their appointed duties that they lose all sense of humor, humanity, and irony. In the US I see this sort of humorless automaton behavior all the time: in cops, tsa agents, border patrol - basically from people in most positions of state authority. When you constantly subdue your humanity, you give yourself over to authoritarian tendencies, so expect all sorts of abuses to follow.

At the risk of sounding histrionic: the real threat isn't that machines will take over humanity, but rather humans will become machines.

Re:A certain amount of irony? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44567857)

Your request for a sense of humor, humanity, and irony has been noted and is refused. Please file a 27b/6 form with the proper authority if you wish to appeal this decision.

Sorry, I'm a bit of a stickler for paperwork.

Re:A certain amount of irony? (2)

BlueStrat (756137) | 1 year,18 days | (#44568617)

Your request for a sense of humor, humanity, and irony has been noted and is refused. Please file a 27b/6 form with the proper authority if you wish to appeal this decision. Just scratch out where the form lists "Domestic Assassination - Journalist" and write in "sense of humor, humanity, and irony".

FTFY, courtesy of the TV show MASH and the government's Michael Hastings "Death by OnStar" assassination.

Strat

"The military is worried" (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | 1 year,18 days | (#44567365)

Four words which have never before existed to suggest the rest of the paragraph is pure propaganda.

What is the point of this article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44567419)

Nice job with the fear-mongering to generate click throughs.

"DARPA Fears Big Data Could Become A Threat." "Big Data" is a term that implies corporations like Google or major analytics firms like IBM, along the lines of the term "Big Pharma". The article clearly states that it's a research project designed to understand the potential risks of the release of major databases publicly; what happens if Wall Street's datasets get hacked, what happens if the IRS's mainframe was hacked and several of it's data sets were stolen and released; what is the potential risk and damage? Also a grading system about whether a given dataset if released would cause major damage or minor, which allows the military to prioritize defense resources to important areas. That's a far cry from what the title says.

"...there's a certain amount of irony in the government soliciting ways to reduce its vulnerability to data exploitation." No there's not. The military uses guns and it also develops body armor to defeat guns. They use missiles and it also develops anti-missile systems to defeat missiles. Anyone using a tool would also recognize that that same tool could be used against them, and therefore develop defenses to counter it. Not to mention the fact that the NSA is a civilian intelligence bureau designed to detect threats, whereas DARPA is a military research agency designed to develop tools to help the military stop threats. THey don't work together, they don't share a budget, and they have different missions, but it's also perfectly logical that in a world where several data breaches have happened in the last few years that the military would be interested in identifying vulnerable and valuable data sets and figure out ways to protect those.

This article is pointless.

Re:What is the point of this article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44567463)

Correction: I was wrong. The NSA is under the DoD, so strike that from my post. The rest still applies though.

Ask the NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44567659)

Why don't they ask the NSA then? DARPA has more money and time than they know what to do with it appears.

Irony? (1)

Larry_Dillon (20347) | 1 year,18 days | (#44568029)

I don't think there's any irony here. The fewer that have access to some kinds of data, the more valuable it becomes. The just want a monopoly on 3d party use.

There's no irony here (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | 1 year,18 days | (#44568087)

These are the same people who make tanks and anti-tank missiles. They make airplanes and surface-to-air missiles. They put body armor on their soldiers and hand them guns to shoot other soldiers with.

They know the power of Big Data, so they both try to use it to their advantage and try to mitigate the advantage it would give to their foes.

Meanwhile in the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44568251)

We have some European Data Protection directives as law. Which means that a company can't give your information out to third parties. But they _can_ give it out to their "partners". Of course, some companies now list upwards of 500 such "partners"

So remember, when you go with a company, you also go with anyone that company has ever been with.

I think we're going to have to start calling out some companies as "data whores."

Lightbulb Moment (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44568509)

I wonder at what point they realized that Google knows more about Americans than they do?

Speaking of *ahem* analysis.

What irony? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44570117)

As Foreign Policy points out, there's a certain amount of irony in the government soliciting ways to reduce its vulnerability to data exploitation. 'At the time government officials are assuring Americans they have nothing to fear from the National Security Agency poring through their personal records,' the publication wrote, 'the military is worried that Russia or al Qaeda is going to wreak nationwide havoc after combing through people's personal records.'"

I'm not seeing the irony here, replace data exploitation with nukes, bombers, ships, subs, or any other tool we wield.

Wow, did you know the US has an aircraft carriers parked off my coast, several hundreds of thousands of soldiers garrisoned on my soil, and nuclear weapons deployed here? Well, yah... I live in the US and I'm not even remotely afraid of these things.

You can snicker all you want when I say we really do trust our government, but at the end of the day, what is your real beef with it? The "fears" of the NSA are overblown, many of you will prove that by saying _ANYTHING_ you want here. This hypothetical the government is bad because they _could_ do X Y Z is just silly.

That's easy to fix (1)

slick7 (1703596) | 1 year,18 days | (#44570285)

Here' what you do, put your big database into a bigger database which goes into an even bigger database, then reduce the biggest database into a smaller database while reducing the less bigger database into an even smaller database that goes into the smallest database possible. You with me so far? Good.
Now, take the smallest database and encrypt it with RSA 4096, then take the largest database and encrypt it with PGP. Make two copies of each database, place the smallest database into the largest one, now do the inverse with the other two copies, these become your public and private keys, or the other way around if you please.
Gererate some goof ball data to prove that it works, then see which of the three letter acronym agencies is stupid enough to buy it for 1 bbbbbillion dollars. I sure at least three of the said agencies will fall over themselves trying to be the first to acquire it. Then, install a backdoor into the system and sell it to the politicians.

NSA Hears Big Data Could Become Big Treat (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44571319)

just saying

Vote out our government (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44572325)

At what point will we as Americans stand together and vote these guys OUT of office?

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