In the name of national security, the CIA has just taken a drastic step toward transforming America into an authoritarian, oppressive technocracy like China, critics say.
According to Bloomberg, the CIA is prepping to roll out a ChatGPT-like artificial intelligence program to help them sift through data for clues. What sort of data? From the sounds of it, ostensibly anything publicly available.
“We’ve gone from newspapers and radio, to newspapers and television, to newspapers and cable television, to basic internet, to big data, and it just keeps going. We have to find the needles in the needle field,” Randy Nixon, the director of the agency’s Open-Source Enterprise division, said.
Given the CIA’s history of abuses, critics greatly worry about the potential ramifications of this new technology:
It was only a matter of time.
Much more is being built in the shadows.
— Alex Northstar (@NorthstarBrain) September 27, 2023
Can any one define here “public information”?
— رومیسہ (@RumesaAlyRajput) September 26, 2023
Created to “combat China” then used to control Americans.
— darrell dunn (@darrell44618853) September 27, 2023
Going to be pretty powerful once trained on everyone’s personal information.
— The Mean (@loudnewsnet) September 28, 2023
Yeah if you believe that I have a house to sell for 18 million dollars.. they’re creating it to use on Americans….,
— Ltlnicky (@ltlnicky43) September 27, 2023
So is this going to be used against the general public for little petty things? Or will it go after the corrupt politicians running our government?
— Bryan (@bllj89) September 26, 2023
Note what one critic wrote: “Created to ‘combat China’ then used to control Americans.”
The part about combatting China is definitely true.
“It’s part of a broader government campaign to harness the power of AI and compete with China, which is seeking to become the global leader in the field by 2030,” Bloomberg notes.
China is already using AI to oppress its people: “Underpinning China’s system of oppression is a high-tech network of surveillance,” according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
As for the part about controlling Americans, Decrypt.io points out that “[s]everal government agencies—CIA included—have been caught overstepping their legal boundaries in regards to the amount and type information they collect on citizens.”
Nixon reportedly tried to assuage these concerns by saying that the CIA plans to closely follow U.S. privacy laws, but there are some problems.
According to Bloomberg, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has previously “flagged concerns about intelligence agencies turning to largely unregulated commercial marketplaces to purchase troves of data about people, including location information gathered from mobile phones.”
Here’s the key: “The intelligence community classifies such information as open-source information, even if it is available only for purchase by governments.”
And so when the CIA claims it plans to only sift through publicly available data, that may very well be a deceiving statement meant to confuse.
Some critics have also cast down on the CIA’s claim that this is a new development. Basing their belief on the idea that the CIA has been keeping secrets from Americans, critics say the agency has probably had this sort of tech available to it for decades:
As if they don’t already have it.
— Scott Goulette (@scottyg_ap) September 26, 2023
acting like this hasn’t existed for years
— Ceapa Cool (@CeapaCool) September 26, 2023
Theyve had palantir for the past 2 decades
— Stin (@Stin_101) September 27, 2023
Something tells me they already had some thing like this.
— maxfromparis2 (@maxfromparis2) September 26, 2023
really wonder how much of an head start they already have with that technology!
— Eric Kasanowski (@KasanowskiEric) September 27, 2023
So project mockingbird is up and running and messaging is that the CIA is going to start doing what they’ve already been doing for decades? The downfall of democracy in this great republic has definitely succeeded – we aren’t just at war – we’ve already lost.
— Jennifer (@Jennife38469105) September 28, 2023
One critic pointed out that the CIA has already had access to a software suite called “Palantir” for decades.
According to Forbes, Palantir is “the go-to company for mining massive data sets for intelligence and law enforcement applications, with a slick software interface and coders who parachute into clients’ headquarters to customize its programs.”
“Palantir turns messy swamps of information into intuitively visualized maps, histograms and link charts. Give its so-called ‘forward-deployed engineers’ a few days to crawl, tag and integrate every scrap of a customer’s data, and Palantir can elucidate problems as disparate as terrorism, disaster response and human trafficking,” Forbes reported way back in 2013.
Palantir has previously been used to attack conservatives and spread the government’s false COVID narratives:
BREAKING: CIA Agent and head of Palantir, Alex Karp, says software their company created “single-handedly” stopped the far right in Europe and built products to spread the COVID narrative. pic.twitter.com/4h5vwrTcY8
— Ryan Cunningham (@rycunni) January 24, 2023