In Depth President Lincoln Taking a Selfie

Published on January 15th, 2015 | by Daniel Castro


Critics Fear Big Data in Alternate History

Late last year, an article in Slate denounced the big data movement, rationalizing its opposition by arguing that U.S. history would have been significantly worse had this technology been invented a few hundred years ago. Written by Alvaro Bedoya, the executive director of Georgetown University’s new Center on Privacy and Technology and a former staffer for Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota), the op-ed claims that big data, if it had been around, would have exacerbated a host of shameful events in our nation’s past, from the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II to the ban on gay and lesbian soldiers serving openly in the U.S. military, and prevented some notable historical achievements, such as the American Revolution and the Underground Railroad.

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About the Author

Daniel Castro is the director of the Center for Data Innovation and vice president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. Mr. Castro writes and speaks on a variety of issues related to information technology and internet policy, including data, privacy, security, intellectual property, internet governance, e-government, and accessibility for people with disabilities. His work has been quoted and cited in numerous media outlets, including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, USA Today, Bloomberg News, and Businessweek. In 2013, Mr. Castro was named to FedScoop’s list of “Top 25 most influential people under 40 in government and tech.” In 2015, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker appointed Mr. Castro to the Commerce Data Advisory Council.Mr. Castro previously worked as an IT analyst at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) where he audited IT security and management controls at various government agencies. He contributed to GAO reports on the state of information security at a variety of federal agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). In addition, Mr. Castro was a Visiting Scientist at the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he developed virtual training simulations to provide clients with hands-on training of the latest information security tools. He has a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and an M.S. in Information Security Technology and Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

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