In Reaping Results: Data Mining Goes Mainstream, found in today's New York Times, Steve Lohr explores how, for the first time, data mining is being broadly employed throughout society. From police forces looking at historical data to understand how payday brings on crime to tracking communications within corporations to analyzing transaction data, the 1950s dreams of operations research and cybernetics have became part of everyday life under network culture.
Where is this going? To be sure, control becomes ever tighter within a framework of artificial freedom. The current regime has been amassing information for its own dubious purposes. That much is obvious. But what strikes me is that the stats packages that allow me to examine the behavior of the thousands of visitors this site has every month may be the beginning of personal data mining. What other tools might emerge in the future? Share your OMPL allow you to co-relate your micro-clustered media consumption patterns with others like yourself. But what iif I could turn Big Brother's surveillance against itself? With locative media (supposedly) right around the corner—or even with Google Maps—wouldn't it be possible to tag the physical and means of surveillance and choke points as the NYC Surveillance Camera Project did, for example? Might cryptome.org merely be a precursor to a massive counter-movement that employs the same techniques Big Brother does?
Utopian? Dystopian? But of course.