The following is a flight of fantasy, but in the wake of recent events, I believe that we would be foolish not to develop every possible technology to safeguard the lives of our children and their children.
There are many very reasonable arguments about the potential invasiveness of Big Data and the implications that it may have for our privacy. It is already a simple fact that we have no idea who is in possession of what data about us – the Edward Snowden revelations alleged government snooping on an industrial scale, but is this the price of our future security? A price that is worth paying?
After a few more tragic events like the ones in Paris, I think that the debate might finally come into the mainstream. Are our civil liberties worth surrendering (to a certain extent) in order to ensure that potential terrorists are foiled?
I will leave that question to one side as it will create a huge discussion (and rightly so). I would, however, like to consider a world in which Big Data can combat terrorism…. It is not as far-fetched as it sounds.
I am not an expert on extremism, but the path is generally a well-trodden one. Detailed analysis and risk assessments could be made not only on a retrospective basis but even on a “live” basis – if subject A goes to place B, it is highly likely that he is going to do action C.