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tv   The Communicators  CSPAN  April 4, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT

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candidates. they participated in a debate hosted by the city club of chicago. and wendy davis talks about the challenges women face in today's politics. >> c-span, crated by america's cable companies 35 years ago and brought to you as a public service by your local cable or satellite provider. peter: the book is called "to the cloud: big data in a turbulent world." the author is professor vincent mosco. where did the term cloud come from? vincent: there is debate about the origins of the term. it mainly derives from the
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network diagrams that telecommunication engineers drew . they tended to identify the nodes in the network, in the form of a cloud. the diagram would interconnect a group of clouds with telephones. that is where cloud comes from. there is some debate. more importantly, what is the cloud? there are many different definitions. when you boil it down a cloud is a system for storing processing, and distributing data information e-mails, apps and software. companies that operate cloud systems provide individuals and organizations with access to the
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data on an on-demand basis for a fee. the customer receives storage space and has access to data from anywhere, any device, and companies make money by providing that data and services derived from it. peter: is there a physical location of the cloud? vincent: there are many physical locations. the cloud tends to be located in non-cloudlike looking structures . data centers. these are an enormous buildings located all over the world that are filled with in some cases tends of thousands of servers that are storing the data, and
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these data centers are located all over the world. i mean everywhere. one of the best places to locate a data center is in a cool climate. canada and scandinavia have data centers because the servers need to be kept cool. if there is a physical location, it would be in data centers that themselves are interlinked by cable satellite to create a global interconnected network of cloud data centers. peter: why have clouds developed? vincent: there are a number of reasons. one of the reasons is they provide an efficient storage facility for the rapidly growing
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store of the world's data. certainly as individuals, it is difficult to contain all of our data on one computer. for companies, there are enormous potential savings, and some are being realized that we are in the early days of the clouds because if you want another definition of cloud computing, it is an opportunity to outsource your i.t. operations. the cloud company becomes the i.t. department for corporations around the world. there are certainly storage savings and cost savings for individuals, but especially for companies. governments as well have been moving to the cloud rapidly especially the u.s. government,
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because it offers the kind of savings that corporations have begun to enjoy in i.t. operations. peter: you write in your book that 36% of all data will be stored in the cloud by 2016. is this another trend and it will last for another 10-20 years and then moved to something else? we went through a pc trend, a central computer trend. vincent: right. it is hard to peer into the future. i think the cloud is on the edge . it is beginning to grow rapidly. i believe that the cloud will expand. the u.s. is the leading cloud nation, but china europe are
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picking up full head of steam to move to the cloud. that isn't to say the transition will be a smooth one. as i also described, there are some serious problems associated with cloud computing. we will get to that. back to your question, i think it is a trend. what may be the next trend it is likely to be the connection between the cloud, big data, which is analyzing the data and clouds the stems, and what is called the internet of things which puts intelligence in every day items people refer to the talking refrigerators, or the intelligent car. what i see 10-15 years from now
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is the marriage of the cloud big data, analytics, and the internet of things. peter: you mentioned the u.s. government. how does the u.s. government currently use the cloud? vincent: it primarily, it is the military and intelligence arms of the u.s. government. for example, the national security agency is building one of the world's largest cloud data centers in a secure mountain facility in utah. it is doing so because it surveillance needs require that degree of storage and security. the u.s. government's chief formation officer ordered u.s. government agencies to move to the cloud.
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as a result, even civilian agencies are turning to cloud services. it is primarily military and intelligence. there is an interesting u.s. government program run by the office of the digital humanities , which provides funding for academic research that makes use of the cloud and big data to advance research humanities. that if you talk in the bucket of it primarily military and intelligence surveillance operation. peter: are there privacy and security concerns when it comes to information being stored away? vincent: that is one of the prime problems that i address.
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one of the reasons i decided to write this look that was while there has been some research on the cloud and big data, much of what gets published is either technical here is how to build a cloud, or promotional, why we should all jump on the bandwagon. my book addresses critical questions that we need to face and that may retard the development of cloud computing. one of these is the question of privacy and surveillance. there are serious privacy implications. no system is fully secure. haveas we have seen with the nude photos hacked from apple's
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version of the cloud, there are real concerns. hacking is widespread. companies which tend to be reluctant to report cases of hacking have led to an underestimation of the amount of hacking that is taking place. companies fear people will not do business with them if they know servers are not secure. hacking is an issue. it is not just the isolated hacker who creates privacy and surveillance problems. it is essentially a core element of the business plan of most cloud companies to carry out surveillance. you asked about the incentive to move to the cloud. one is the opportunity to profit from the data of customer of's
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stored in the cloud. facebook, for example, is dependent on its ability to analyze and market information on its subscribers, as many other customers. there is a kind of corporate surveillance that is within the law and legitimate that increasingly raises issues for customers and subscribers. finally, there is state surveillance. the concerns that edward snowden certainly emphasized in his revelations about the nsa. it is also the case that many other arms of government, for example the central intelligence agency received, or carried out a deal with amazon.
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amazon received $600 million and a contract to provide intelligence cloud services for the cia. there is an uncomfortable link between a company that markets data on its customers, and a government intelligence arm whose business is foreign and more often these days mastic surveillance. there are growing concerns about privacy and surveillance. peter: you have mentioned the nsa. you talk about the nsa data center in utah. what is that? vincent: it is still under construction. we don't know a great deal about it. except that it is in norman us. it will store the bulk of the
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nsa files on individuals, and manage data stored elsewhere. so, in a sense it will be the information capital of the nsa. it is built in a mountain. it is a very secure facility. only a few people have reported on what will likely go on there. suffice it to say, it will likely be the center of the nsa data storage processing and information management. peter: if someone is using a mobile phone or iphone, are they using the cloud? can you give an example of how that would work? vincent: an example of the gmail comes to mind. many people have decided not to store their e-mail on their own
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computers. they subscribe to an online service like gmail. when you check your e-mail, you would be communicating with a google datacenter that actually stores your mail. it will send that mail to you. should you decide to respond or create a new e-mail, you are communicating with google's gmail division to send out that mail. as a result google is able to observe every e-mail you send out on gmail. one consequence is google is able to process -- profit from your use of gmail by capturing the data in your mailing to determine the kinds of things
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you are interested in. if you happen to innocuously e-mail about your interest in nfl football to a friend, chances are the next time you log on to the site there might be an ad for tickets to an nfl game in your area, or for jerseys, etc.. we are in constant use of the cloud. individual certainly are. it is important to emphasize the cloud is a significant business tool. as i suggested earlier, one of the reasons why there are significant labeling implications is that big companies want to use the cloud to streamline their workforce. if your company has a very close
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customer relations element in your business, you might use the salesforce cloud. being a major cloud company. their cloud specializes in customer relations management. rather than operate and a norm is marketing department on your own, companies might streamline that and move their marketing to the salesforce cloud, saving a lot of labor costs. increasingly individuals through e-mail use or downloading, itunes, or making calls, or companies wanting to hide elements of their business, whether it is marketing, legal, finance, a draw from cloud companies to do so.
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it is increasingly a fundamental aspect of individual and organizational life. i think it is important for us to understand that, an element that describes the cloud because whether it is privacy or labor or the concern about the environmental impact of a world covered in data centers, we need to consider what amounts to serious public policy issues that the cloud brings about. peter: have those started to be addressed? vincent: there is some debate around the cloud. largely on the periphery. it depends on the issue. for example, there has been a discussion about the environmental consequence of the
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data centers. there is nothing cloudlike about a massive data center. the servers inside require an enormous amounts of power to operate. they also are required massive cooling facilities. and furthermore because of our 24/7 culture, we expect our cloud services, gmail or i clouds, to be available to us nonstop. as a result, cloud companies have to use backup systems like diesel generators and chemicals that themselves are heavily polluting. as a result, there is a much greater impact on the environment. organizations like greenpeace
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and others have done assessments of cloud computing companies identifying which ones do a better job than others. calling attention to companies for example, like apple the made greater use of solar power for their data centers, and calling attention to others like amazon that simply won't reveal their sources of power, or their environmental impacts. we are beginning to think about data center impact. it is important we do so soon because we're talking about thousands of structures around the world. they are growing larger and larger. consider china, which has gotten on the cloud bandwagon only
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recently. it is building entire cloud cities that combine several data centers along with research and development facilities, and housing, etc., office facilities, within the same location. the new cloud cities. there is little attention directed to the environmental consequences of days. it is beginning. certainly there is more attention devoted to privacy and surveillance issues as we come to recognize that the information stored in the cloud is not nearly as secure as we thought it might be. increasingly, professional workers whose jobs are at risk
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with the cloud are beginning to think about the loss of jobs not so much because of outsourcing to emerging economies like that of india or china, but simply outsourced to the cloud. there are those considerations as well. organizations of workers, calling attention to the labor issues. my concern as i identify it in the book, we don't have more general policy discussion about the role the cloud in society. we are likely to see more and more of this discussion as president obama recently raised the potential to make the
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internet a utility, a public utility, not unlike that of the utilities that provide other essential services like water and electricity. perhaps if we begin to think about the cloud, and i'm almost certain that as the years go on as we did in electricity and water, we will see the cloud as an essential service requiring public oversight to address issues like the environmental privacy, labor, corporate concentration, that are being raised piecemeal today. perhaps it is time to think of the cloud as a public utility. peter: "to the cloud" is vincent 's recent book. he joins us from boston.
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he is canadian. he is professor emeritus at queens university in canada. professor, how is canada? do they have a different regulatory structure when it comes to addressing these issues ? what about the use of the cloud in your home country? vincent: as i mentioned, canada has more than its share of data centers because of our chillier climate. there are economic benefits to living in the cold. we house data centers from companies all over the world because it is easier to keep servers cooler up north. we have abundant sources of hydroelectric power to keep them going. more to the point, canada's regulatory system is only slightly different from that of the united states. one of the key differences is we
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pay closer attention to issues like equal access, and universal service, so that our regulator has greater powers to oversee businesses. it is mainly private businesses that operate in the cloud. we have two policy drivers. one is we support canadian companies, so that firms are major providers of services. secondly, that we use the internet to advance certain social goals, like the quality and public access. most of our population is
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located close to the u.s. border, we have populations communities in the north that are difficult to serve and our regulators work to seeing and there's always debate on how good a job they do, but their job is to help isolated communities have access to information services. in the long term as we moved who -- moved to an essential goal, public utility status for the cloud, canada is further along than the united states, which is battling over the conflict between public rights and private opportunities. peter: before we run out of time, i want to tie in the big data aspect of this.
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that is the subtitle of your book. you have two minutes. vincent: one of the important values of the cloud is that it gathers and norma's amounts of data, which companies and governments can benefit by analyzing. there was widespread public benefit and learning from what is in the clouds. there is also considerable profit to be made and surveillance opportunities. there is great debate about big data. one of the reasons why i called for greater oversight of the cloud in big data is that in our enthusiasm to embrace the quantitative bits in the clouds we tend increasingly to seeing truth embodied solely in that which can be qualified for
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organized in correlations. as a trained sociologist i recognized while there is great value in quantitative data there are also limitations. one of the things i fear and are moved to embrace big data we are losing side of the importance of qualitative information historical information theoretical information, of capturing the subjectivity of the people whose data is located in the cloud. i call on everyone to be cautious in your embrace of big data. we have numerous cases of errors made in big data analysis. largely because of the misuse of correlational analysis. as a result i think we need to be careful, to because this, and to recognize that our society has benefited enormously from
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multiple approaches to understanding data and information, and that we should increasingly emphasized the need to supplement quantitative big data analysis with those from the humanities and social sciences that are more qualitative, subjective, and historical. peter: it struck me throughout your book you made if the moral and spiritual references to the term of the cloud. why is that? vincent: the cloud as an image is a powerful one. many societies have attributed great power to the cloud. one of my concerns is that by embracing the cloud as an image we are less likely to hear --
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here through the cloud, to the material issues surrounding the environmental impacts, the labor , and privacy impacts that we might not associate with that lovely white cloud in the sky. the cloud is indeed not immaterial. it is very material. the sooner we recognize its powerful materiality the more likely we are to make use of it for our benefit, and to control and regulate many of its excesses. peter: "to the cloud: big data in a turbulent world." thank you. vincent: thank you, peter. >> c-span, creed by america's cable companies 35 years ago
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brought to as a public service by your >> politician wendy david, 20 made headlines for leaving a filibuster that made headlines in a debate on abortion clinics. she recently spoke in the university of california berkeley on the challenges that women face in politics. including her own experience in running as governor of texas. wendy davis: perhaps, given the sexualized nature in which women's candidate and issues framed, some of that wolf whis tling occurs in very pointed ways. for example, in my race, my opponent deriders photo


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