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TechDirt reported earlier this week about an exchange between Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) and Google Law Enforcement and Information Security Director Richard P. Selgado. The incident occurred during a hearing on the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) held by the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations.

Gohmert queried Selgado on Google’s system of selecting keywords from user’s e-mails for advertising purposes, but seemed to have difficulty understanding how the system actually worked. Here’s video of the exchange:

In a separate incident, The Huffington Post reported on Central Intelligence Agency Chief Technology Officer Ira “Gus” Hunt’s presentation about the agency’s use of Big Data analytics at a conference in New York. “The value of any piece of information is only known when you can connect it with something else that arrives at a future point in time,” he said. “Since you can’t connect the dots you don’t have, it drives us into a mode of, we fundamentally try to collect everything and hang on to it forever.”

It was also reported earlier this week that the CIA had reached a $600 million, 10-year deal with Amazon for cloud computing services.

Here’s video of Hunt’s presentation (video is not mobile optimized):

In one instance, a lawmaker seems to have difficulty understanding the technology, and in another, a powerful government representative discusses his agency's use of data maximization with unlimited retention.

What should the privacy and security communities think and do about these types of issues?


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