Speaking at a technology conference in New York City Wednesday night, CIA chief technology officer Ira Hunt stated that the CIA "fundamentally [tries] to collect everything and hang on to it forever," referring to massive troves of personal data that have become increasingly accessible through online and wireless technology.
Text messages, social media, online videos, and 'cloud' data storage technologies have proliferated in recent years and the CIA is hungry for more development in technology that could potentially store and organize all such information in unprecedented databases, referred to as 'Big Data'.
"The value of any piece of information is only known when you can connect it with something else that arrives at a future point in time," Hunt said. "Since you can't connect dots you don't have, it drives us into a mode of, we fundamentally try to collect everything and hang on to it forever."
Hunt did not reveal how and through what vehicles the CIA would gain access to every piece of cyber information that citizens put out there, but he did express the agency's unrelenting desire for technology and intelligence capabilities—such as advanced storage facilities—that would allow them to do so.
"It is really very nearly within our grasp to be able to compute on all human generated information," Hunt said.
"You're already a walking sensor platform," he added. "You are aware of the fact that somebody can know where you are at all times, because you carry a mobile device, even if that mobile device is turned off," he said. "You know this, I hope? Yes? Well, you should."
Hunts statements arrive shortly after reports surfaced earlier this week that Amazon has signed a 10-year contract with the CIA worth $600 million to develop a vast cloud storage infrastructure for the agency—similar to the 'big data' capabilities Hunt was drooling over.
Watch Hunt's speech: