This isn’t surprising. I think many of us just assumed that to some degree this sort of research has been going on. The surveillance state contractor infrastructure expands, and our privacy shrinks, again.
This is the yin and yang of Big Data. All the data points now floating out in the cybersphere about us, our health, our political dispositions, what food we eat, what beer we drink, are just waiting to be connected into patterns. This has great potential to make life better for human beings. Big Data can help us live healthier, work more efficiently, identify business opportunities, etc. The possibilities are as vast as the stars in the galaxy.
But Big Data also has great danger as many of us recognize. The government with what often seems like unlimited resources running algorithms over the ocean of readily available data is a scary proposition. And as the surveillance state infrastructure expands (if we let it) the vast sums of taxpayer dollars available (thanks Congress) will provide perverse incentives for firms to develop ever more invasive technologies.
Of course it’s not like American companies are the only ones developing this stuff either.