When IT Meets Politics

Jul 15 2013   12:10PM GMT

Is Angry Birds a bigger surveillance threat than PRISM?

Philip Virgo Profile: Philip Virgo

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This morning I listed to the first episode of “Privacy Under Pressure” – it was Radio 4 at its best – with some of my favourite pundits. However, as is my wont, I looked through the other end of the telescope. Who really runs Angry Birds – arguably the worlds most ubiquitous surveillance operation (with a wider reach than Facebook or Google)?  Is it Finnish Intelligence or the FSB? 

Either way, they appear to be getting rather better value for money than we are from GCHQ or the US is getting from the NSA.

Or should I have added another conspiracy theory to my competition: that the publicity for PRISM was to hide the fact that GHHQ and the NSA really spend much of their budgets paying for collated “advertising” feedback on those interested in, for example, bomb-making recipes, or who have psychologial profiles which indicated that they might be recruitable as terrorists, hackers or spies.

I also hope to make time to listen to the later Radio 4 programme on Postcode Profiling : which I hae jsut missed. I happen to believe that such techniques should be used far more to help government target services on those in most need – and not “just” by the political parties to identify which voters are likely to support which policies.

Who needs to spend more on new Big Data tools to analyse mountains of cybercrud when services like Mosaic can already tell you what is likely to be useful because it has been collected, under tight governance, from more reliable sources? Or is that what the Big Data debate is about – those who cannot live up to them, trying to find ways round the governance, quality and security standards expected of services like Mosaic. 

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