The National Security Agency may be collecting data on millions of Americans, but the Obama administration wants you to know that lots of private companies do the same thing.
"On Facebook, there are some 350 million photos uploaded and shared every day. On YouTube, 100 hours of video is uploaded every minute," John Podesta, a top adviser to President Obama, said Monday during a conference at MIT. "And we are only in the very nascent stage of the 'Internet of Things,' where our appliances will communicate with each other and sensors may be nearly ubiquitous."
Podesta is leading a working group that will soon present a report to the president on the privacy issues surrounding "big data" — the collection and storage of massive amounts of personal information. Obama announced the working group in January in the same speech where he outlined reforms to the NSA's controversial surveillance programs.
A variety of technological advances have meant that we leave an electronic trail for almost everything we do — including the people we contact, the websites we visit, and even our physical location. The implicit message from the White House is that while there may be legitimate privacy concerns related to the government's access to that information, private companies should also face scrutiny.