This material may consist of step-by-step explanations on how to solve a problem or examples of proper writing, including the use of citations, references, bibliographies, and formatting. This material is made available for the sole purpose of studying and learning - misuse is strictly forbidden.Edward Snowden’s leaks about the NSA, in 2013, not only dragged the secretive agency into the spotlight but revolutionized global consciousness regarding Big Data, security, and privacy.
And, as is amply clear two years hence, Snowden and his colleagues, prime among whom are the journalist Glen Greenwald and the filmmaker Laura Poitras, have been so effective as to have successfully kept the story in the headlines.
There have been consequences, such as Snowden’s exile in Russia, and, more importantly, the international conversation which has occurred over the topics of data privacy and the limits of government action.
This paper, however, focuses on some of the more implicit conceptual issues at the heart of the topic – such as Big Data as an operational logic; its voraciousness in so many dimensions in addition to the three critical v’s of volume, velocity, and variety; the NSA’s tradecraft in the age of Big Data; the tech at the heart of the issue, and the closely-related problem of credibility in the revelations’ wake; the Rorschach blot represented by Big Data and our willingness to, relatively speaking, turn a blind eye to the data collection of companies like Facebook and Google; the normative elements at play in the very nature of Big Data, as well as epistemological issues with the uses to which Big Data is put; and, in conclusion, the potential place—or potential lack thereof—for ethics in the world of Big Data.
As will be seen, a wide variety of sources will be consulted, from the NSA itself to The Guardian, with the overarching aim of coming to a fuller, more nuanced understanding of one of the most important issues of our time.
Big Data and national security
Matt Buchanan, a science and technology editor the newyorker.com, makes a number of important points regarding national security (2013).
One is the notion of approaching national security as a Big Data problem – but doing so goes beyond the ‘mere’ collection and analysis of vast amounts of data and the detecting and knowing of trends and insights, hopefully leading to making “sense of a rapidly expanding, chaotic universe of information” (n.p.). The more important point to see is that a Big Data approach to national security is a...