National security relies more and more on big data. Here’s why.

Data are a defining feature of modern society. Every day, humans and the machines they interact with create 2.5 trillion megabytes of data. As data become more prominent and readily available, the temptation to analyze them and make sense of the world through specific analytics methods or algorithms grows.

This is particularly true for national security. Big data is a “big deal” for U.S. spy agencies, which have long relied on multiple data sources to produce intelligence reports. In the past decade, agencies like the CIA and the NSA have institutionalized big data through the development of dedicated analytics units and research and development projects focusing on the analysis of online data such as YouTube videos and social media posts.

Author: Damien Van Puyvelde, Shahriar Hossain and Stephen Coulthart


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