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Obama, the ‘Big Data’ President Washington Post (06/14/13) Nancy Scola

 The Obama administration, which strongly believes in the power of data to drive government decision-making, has initiated several big data projects. Last year, the White House launched the $200-million Big Data Research and Development Initiative, listing more than 85 examples of big data projects at a range of federal agencies. For example, CyberInfrastructure for Billions of Electronic Records (CI-BER) is a collaborative, global project aimed at sharing Earth observation data. The Defense Department also is spending about $250 million a year on big data research and development. “In the same way that past federal investments in information technology R&D led to dramatic advances in supercomputing and the creation of the Internet, the initiative we are launching today promises to transform our ability to use big data for scientific discovery, environmental and biomedical research, education, and national security,” says White House Office of Science and Technology Policy director John P. Holdren. However, analysts say incidents such as the recent National Security Agency data collection controversy highlight the need for increased debate on big data use and its potential implications for the relationship between the government and large tech firms and for the public in terms of privacy and understanding what rights it is giving away to the government.



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