NEW YORK – Standing before the GigaOM’s Structure:Data conference in New York, the Central Intelligece Agency’s chief technology officer inadvertently made a startling revelation: the CIA has stockpiled the largest collection of pornography in the free world.
Rubbing elbows with a predominately male audience, Gus Hunt felt enough at ease to share some juicy generalizations with the group during his presentation. In addition to virtually every tweet, text message, news story, movie reference, death threat, video, Facebook post, and satirical article ever shared over the internet, the CIA had also stockpiled pornography.
A torrent of questions related to the material followed: Did this include amateur self-shots? “Yes,” beamed Hunt. A variety of fetishes? “All of them, yes.” Japanese hentai? “Hai.” Illegal material, such as snuff footage or child pornography? “Yes, of course.” Celebrity pictures? “Even ones that haven’t been released for public consumption, yes.”
The CIA even has the ability to record its own content, able to hack into and manipulate the various audio/visual recording and even vibrating devices standard to smartphones. That capability is already well-known, in its most unsophisticated form common to indentity thieves and British journalists.
“You’re already a walking sensor platform,” Hunt shrugged. “You are aware of the fact that somebody can know where you are at all times, because you carry a mobile device, even if that mobile device is turned off. You know this, I hope? Yes? Well, you should.” The convention center had by this time largely fallen silent.
“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,” Hunt went on to explain, trying to steer the discussion back to intelligence concerns. “We fundamentally try to collect everything and hang on to it forever.” He went on to note that the CIA was hoping for storage somewhere in the vicinity of a petabyte of RAM – hitherto only used for computer-simulated nuclear detonations.
“It is really very nearly within our grasp to be able to compute on all human generated information. Technology in this world is moving faster than government or law can keep up,” Hunt said in conclusion. “It’s moving faster I would argue than you can keep up. You should be asking the question of what are your rights and who owns your data.”
That the government has been collecting online data is no secret. On Monday Federal Computer Week had reported that Langley was arranging a 10-year deal with Amazon for its cloud computing services, at an estimated $600 million dollars. The CIA itself has not acknowledged the arrangement, though its porn cache has been the subject of extensive online rumor.
With search engines such as Google and Bing tightening down on access to pornographic material and legislation discussed that would further limit online transfers through torrents and sharing programming, the CIA would in effect be sitting on a strategic porn reserve of inestimable value.
As the CIA’s CTO LOLed to the nerdy assemblage, “When and if the chips do finally fall, the survivors will have plenty to do while we’re waiting for society to rebuild itself.”