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mercredi 27 janvier 2016

Politics that didn't Happen

As the twenty-first century progressed, data-collection was all the rage. Through social networks and the IoT, humans collected all the data they could, all the time, as their long-forgotten romance with probabilities and statistics found a second wind. The passion of this mid-life love-affair was such that, by 2020, more money was invested in digital storage than any other commodity. Of course, all that data was not collected just to look at it.
From credit ratings to citizen scores to threat levels to the likelyhood of you buying a new flatscreen TV, every aspect of human life was suddenly influenced one way or another by big data. Law enforcement especially was in love with the new technology, which could finally absolve it of any responsability in the decision-making process. But it seems the romance was as short-lived as it was intense.
In 2023, Alfred Marx, form the Max Planck Institute for Data-Mining (which was a real thing by then), invented an algorithm that used publicly available data to detect large-scale fraud and/or tax-evasion. In a master stroke, it seems he managed to include the algorithm in law-enforcement data-mining software through government-mandated backdoors. And, since the police was now entirely dependent on data-analysis for any kind of investigation, they were forced to go after more and more rich criminals. And given the proprietory nature of the software, nobody could look at the source code to change it back. This, of course, had dire consequences for the data industry.
In less than six months after the first arrest, privacy protection was the main topic among politicians, and less than two years later, laws were passed that allowed only the most rudimentary form of data collection, until, once again, the easiest way to get rid of investigations was to be rich. Because traditions should not be forgotten so easily.

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