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Big brother meets big data


Facebookの問題って「口では理想を語っているけど単に金儲けの手段としてIT技術を使っている」のように理解していました。今週のBloomberg Businessweekの特集記事を読んで、そうではなく世界観も絡むもっと大きな問題かもしれないと思うようになりました。

この特集記事自体はPalantirという会社が個人データを収集をして、軍や警察がテロ対策や犯罪予防をしやすいようにしているだけでなく、民間企業にも使われている実情を描いています。この会社の創業者がPeter Tiel。Facebookの役員も務めているし、彼の世界観は独特だし、Gawkerの件からもメディアに対して影響力を及ぼすことをなんとも思っていないように思えます。

Peter Thiel’s data-mining company is using War on Terror tools to track American citizens. The scary thing? Palantir is desperate for new customers.
By Peter Waldman, Lizette Chapman, and Jordan Robertson
April 19, 2018

このPalantirという会社の社員がCambridge AnalyticaにFacebook情報の利用方法を教えていたそうですね。


As a start-up called Cambridge Analytica sought to harvest the Facebook data of tens of millions of Americans in summer 2014, the company received help from at least one employee at Palantir Technologies, a top Silicon Valley contractor to American spy agencies and the Pentagon.

It was a Palantir employee in London, working closely with the data scientists building Cambridge’s psychological profiling technology, who suggested the scientists create their own app — a mobile-phone-based personality quiz — to gain access to Facebook users’ friend networks, according to documents obtained by The New York Times.


トランプ大統領を支持して共和党大会でスピーチもしたPeter Thiel。今回のBusinessweekの記事を受けて彼はリバタリアンといった確固たるものがあるというのではなく「逆張り」で儲けているに過ぎないという意見もあります。

By Eric Newcomer
2018年4月20日 14:00 GMT+3

Many commentators have come to the conclusion that rather than truly being a libertarian, Thiel is merely a contrarian. Some of his friends say this, too. I can see why people think that. After all, whatever Thiel does, people in Silicon Valley usually wish he’d done the opposite. Contrarianism is a profitable investing strategy. But saying the world should look like the opposite of whatever everyone else says it should be—regardless of what they’re actually saying—doesn’t make much sense. What happens when the world wants privacy to protect their liberty?

Maybe Thiel’s view is that the world is better with him taking a contrarian position, as that might help move society toward the intellectually cacophonous end-state that he may crave. If that’s the case, Thiel should take stock of the vast influence he has accumulated and realize that his actions have immense consequences.


12.27.1707:00 AM

Yet, cut through Thiel’s eccentricities and harsh language and you discover that Thiel is simply articulating the Know-It-All worldview as best he knows how. In Thiel’s ideas one finds Frederick Terman’s insistence that the smartest should lead, as well as his belief in using entrepreneurism and the market to introduce new technologies to the people. There is the hackers’ confidence that technology will improve society, as well as their suspicion of ignorant authorities who would try to rein in or regulate the best and brightest. There is the successful entrepreneur’s belief that the disruption that has made him fabulously wealthy must be good for everyone. The main difference between Thiel and his peers is that he acts forcefully and openly in support of his ideas, while they are inclined to be more cautious and circumspect.

As we noted above, Stanford may embrace the idea that its students should become entrepreneurs, but only Thiel pays students to drop out and start a business. Larry Page of Google may propose the creation of “some safe places where we can try out some new things and figure out what’s the effect on society, what’s the effect on people, without having to deploy it into the normal world,” but only Thiel backs floating sea-based states. Those peers may privately worry that democracy isn’t the ideal way to choose our leaders, but Thiel will write straightforwardly in a 2009 essay for the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute that “the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women—two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians—have rendered the notion of ‘capitalist democracy’ into an oxymoron.” For these reasons, Thiel names the 1920s as “the last decade in American history during which one could be genuinely optimistic about politics,” though presumably 2016 restored his faith in the electoral process.


NewsLong Reads
It is a story that extends beyond a limited set of corporate players and the billionaire super-class
Youssef El-Gingihy @ElGingihy Thursday 5 April 2018 05:00 BST4 comments

Google, for example, has a contract with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) allowing the agency to use Google Earth Builder. Google’s mapping technology is used for geospatial intelligence purposes, such as supporting US troops in Iraq, while Google and the NGA purchased GeoEye-1, which is the world’s highest-resolution satellite. 

In fact, Google has a revolving door with the national security state employing managers with backgrounds in military and intelligence work and it partners with defence contractors including Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman focusing on drones and robotics. Similarly, Amazon has developed a $600m (£426m) cloud computing system for the CIA that also services all 17 US intelligence agencies.