The Silence of the Data Science Lambs

While courts, politicians, activists , spies and even corporate leaders have spoken or ducked on the question of whole sale data collection by NSA, one group that is both in the thick of action as well as conspicuous by it’s silence is the data scientist community.


While one prominent open source member of R community spoke out against analyzing the data leaked by Wikileaks ( an admirable stand given his background) no one seems to be perturbed to be speaking on analyzing data belonging to fellow citizens and the world at the same time. ( see-WHY I WILL NOT ANALYZE THE NEW WIKILEAKS DATA)

Now Data Scientists and the Intel Communities have long worked together and one of the SAS Institute’s solid cash cows remains its strangehold on intel analytics 😉 , what is perplexing is the deafening silence regarding the violation of Fourth Amendment rights of American citizens domestically and abroad  (see and the active collusion by primarily data scientists in this

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,[a] against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized

Is not your email , your social media, your mobile data a part of your person/house/paper and effect. Does Atlas need to shrug and do data scientists need to say enough is enough to stop this blatant misuse?

No- because the well funded NSA and DOD budgets will always be more than the conscience of a few data scientists. There will always be hackers for hire, and the people shall be led by a sheep.

The Numerati- or the  numerically enabled technological elite data scientists are as culpable as the agencies using them. This can be addressed by lawsuits against compliant statisticians and data miners as well as they are the ones enabling violation of fourth amendment rights. Countries like India have chosen to feed off this data trough and countries like China have chosen to create their own walled off internet instead. It is American data scientists alone who can help guide their Congress to Sanity. The timing is pertinent as Congress debates amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act

” the proposed changes would not touch the agency’s abilities overseas, which are authorized by Executive Order 12333, a Reagan-era presidential directive. The administration has declassified some rules for handling Americans’ messages gathered under the order, but the scope of that collection and other details about how the messages are used has remained unclear.”


( see – and

Are you a data scientist who wants to help out? Help the ACLU educate Congress ( )on the proper way to dispose off private data, and anonymize the data already collected .


Otherwise the next generations will be born in an age where every move recorded by CC cameras or wearable computing devices will be mined by corporations for ads and governments for threats.

The last word on this was said by a wise old White Man ( in an age where Wise Old White Men are no longer fashionable or even correct)

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants–Thomas Jefferson

Maybe he was referring to this tree




Author: Ajay Ohri

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