The NSA and other agencies may not yet have perfected the modeling of this personal and demographic data, but with computing and storage power growing exponentially every year, the time is not far off when such data can be correlated and compared to intrude far more deeply into any American’s personal life than just listening into phone calls.
Gephart concludes that while this process is “still evolving technically,” the government’s not-so-secret goal is
to build, over time, a detailed mathematical 3-D model of every citizen’s psychographic patterns for behavior analysis and prediction purposes.
Twenty years ago, one might have laughed off that idea. Now, our leaders have both the capability to achieve the goal—and the premise (All Terror, All the Time) to sell it to Americans who a generation or two ago might have taken to the streets to oppose it.
Add to that the docility of our secret courts and public officials, and there seems real reason to worry about metadata. Even if one believes that there is equal cause to worry about terrorism, the potential for abuse by the tens or even hundreds of thousands of government and contract workers with access to these hidden databases seems enormously dangerous.