200px-US-GeneralServicesAdministration-Seal.svgIn this classic episode of The Computer Chronicles, Stewart is reading through the news and discusses a program whereby the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) implemented a computer system to monitor government employees telephone calls in order to try to detect and stop employees’ abuse of the phone system:

Edward Snowden was 2 years old when this aired!

This is not 2013—it’s 1985!!!  This reporting is eerily reminiscent of the Snowden leaks.  It’s also interesting in that it’s an early example of Big Data being put to use.  The GSA simply collected metadata on all the calls being made, then ran statistical algorithms examining the time of the call, and participants of the call, in order to predict whether or not the call was work related.

Again, the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Full episode:


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