We already see why all this is bad but today we find yet another reason we do not want SMART CITY technology in the US.
BIG BROTHER SURVEILLANCE AND SPYING AND SELLING OF ALL OUR PERSONAL DATA.
This is a huge issue for everyone, both Democrat and Republican. No one wants this and yet we hear absolutely nothing about this from our national labor unions and justice organizations educating as to goals of these policies. We only see support from them of ever increasing online courses on cyber-technology and defense----ever-more jobs in cyber-security and defense. If we can organize them ----if it creates a job----then we support it.
SMART CITIES are nothing but all of the above. They say the US Constitution does not protect privacy just as they say they are not violating anti-trust laws----THEY ARE SIMPLY PRETENDING FOLKS----WE ARE PROTECTED FROM MONOPOLIES AND INVASION OF PRIVACY. We simply have Clinton neo-liberals running as Democrats instead of labor and justice candidates. Democrats protect against anti-trust---invasion of privacy----
CLINTON NEO-LIBERALS WORK FOR GLOBAL CORPORATIONS PUSHING ALL THIS. GET RID OF ALL CLINTON NEO-LIBERALS AND BUSH NEO-CONS!
When Maryland's O'Malley was praised for CitiStat and now Bill Ferguson is behind StateStat----all of this is structure that works into SMART CITIES. It has no intent of helping the people in communities---it provides logistics for international development---PERIOD. Anyone in Baltimore can tell you CitiStat has done nothing to improve service. The issues in the article below are simply reinstating oversight and accountability in government---hiring public sector employees to be middle-management and keep track every day of daily operations. Only, it does not follow the money, it does not follow contract compliance or public works inspections. It does not follow outsourcing and subcontractors----it merely eliminated a bloated payroll that was bloated because Baltimore's economy is kept completely stagnant with no job creation AT ALL and public policy in hiring that keeps Baltimore citizens unemployed. Was Baltimore's public agencies heavy with too many employees not doing what they should? YES. CitiStat does not get those employees doing what they should----oversight of all I listed above---it simply eliminates even that avenue for having a job. This was Baltimore's patronage system-----and it was allowed by Baltimore Development and Johns Hopkins for decades as pay-to-play----give jobs in exchange for allowing Hopkins and Baltimore Development move billions and billions of dollars to the top and away from the communities. Wall Street and Hopkins kept over 600,000 people impoverished by creating this patronage system of pols hiring people who supported them. Now that Hopkins and Wall Street is ready to move the International Economic Zone policies---they don't need patronage ----and that is what O'Malley did with CitiStat....
IF YOU LOOK AT THE TITLE OF THIS ARTICLE YOU SEE THE SAME WORDS AS SMART CITIES----IT'S ALL ABOUT EFFICIENCY AND EFFECTIVENESS.
Efficiency and effectiveness was had by oversight and accountability and regulation enforcement and the management hired to see that happened. SMART CITIES is simply a tool of dominance and repression.
The CitiStat Model: How Data-Driven Government Can Increase Efficiency and Effectiveness
By Teresita Perez and Reece Rushing | Monday, April 23, 2007
Read "Governing by the Numbers: The Promise of Date-Driven Policymaking in the Information Age"
When Martin O’Malley took over as Baltimore mayor in December 1999, the city government suffered from rampant absenteeism. In the Department of Public Works, for example, one in seven employees failed to report to work every day on average. This absenteeism required other employees to pick up the slack, which produced high overtime costs and a huge burden on the city’s finances.
O’Malley decided to tackle this problem by implementing a data-tracking and management tool called CitiStat. This program enabled the mayor’s office to monitor overtime and sick leave in real-time, providing ammunition to crack down on chronic absenteeism. In CitiStat’s first year of implementation the city saved $13.2 million—$6 million in overtime pay alone. Outside of the police department, overtime fell by 40 percent within the program’s first three years, and absenteeism plummeted by as much as 50 percent in some agencies.
Baltimore now uses the data-driven CitiStat system to manage all city programs and services. Information is gathered on an array of performance indicators, including response times for things like pothole abatement, trash collection, and snow removal, as well as the prevalence of problems such as illegal dumping, vacant buildings, and sewage overflows. This information is analyzed with the assistance of computerized databases and geographic mapping to zero in on areas of underperformance. Managers from each city department then meet with the mayor’s office every two weeks to answer questions about their results.
This approach has produced dramatic improvements in city services and efficiency, with savings of $350 million since its inception. As a result of this success, at least 11 other U.S. cities have adopted the CitiStat approach, with Washington, D.C., under new Mayor Adrian Fenty, the latest addition to this list. Although O’Malley was recently elected governor of Maryland, his successor, Mayor Sheila Dixon, continues to employ CitiStat.
As Maryland’s new governor, O’Malley is now beginning to apply the CitiStat approach to state government. This brings hope that Maryland will set an example for other states, as Baltimore has for other cities.
Washington state has already adopted a CitiStat-inspired system. Gov. Christine Gregoire implemented the Government Management Accountability and Performance initiative, or GMAP, after her staff visited Baltimore and attended a CitiStat meeting. Like CitiStat, GMAP demands systematic analysis of data and regular review sessions with agency heads to assess performance. GMAP, however, employs thematic review—as opposed to departmental review—around specific issues, such as “vulnerable children and adults,” to promote collective problem-solving and cross-departmental collaboration.
This focus on the numbers, not surprisingly, has produced dramatic improvements in government performance. Gregoire has relied on GMAP to, among other things, improve responsiveness to reports of child abuse, facilitate faster decisions on environmental permits, and reduce highway fatalities.
These gains (as well as those achieved by CitiStat) have required little extra expense. Both GMAP and CitiStat use affordable, off-the-shelf software and rely on a small staff to analyze data and oversee departmental implementation. The GMAP staff numbers nine analysts, while CitiStat has never had more than eight full-time staff.
Nor have these programs been especially complex to implement. Gregoire and O’Malley launched their programs almost immediately after taking office. In both cases, departments and agencies were already collecting data sufficient to get started (though additional data have been collected as the programs have matured). GMAP and CitiStat simply unlocked this information and put it to use for decision-making.
This never would have happened, however, without commitment at the top. Gregoire and O’Malley placed top deputies in charge of presiding over review sessions, while sometimes attending sessions themselves. This hands-on attention has signaled to managers of agencies and departments that data must drive their decision-making—and that they will be held accountable for results. The insight here is that data alone will not change behavior and improve performance. Rather, good data must be coupled with committed leadership.
A CitiStat session is shown above. Then Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley, sworn in as governor of Maryland in January, is at the center of the table facing the podium.
All we hear these elections is how the War on Crime that was shown to be effective two decades ago was not really effective. We all know now that the crime data was skewed------mayors in cities like Baltimore simply juked the stats to make it seem they were reducing crime. It also created the environment of unconstitutional policing where police were encouraged behind the scenes to go beyond zero tolerance in order to meet quotas.
O'Malley is running today in a Presidential race that has a nation knowing he was lying about his record---where in Maryland the media and non-profits are designed to pretend pols are successful while they are not. All of this data and efficiency is simply a ploy to build the systems that are becoming SMART CITIES.
We just saw the latest police chief fired for using this system in policing---supposedly focusing in on specific behaviors in communities----all that data collected on people has nothing to do with policing----it simply was developing the surveillance system that is SMART CITIES. We all know the reasons for crime and violence in Baltimore----extreme poverty and a push to black market economy because of no jobs. AND ALL THIS WAS CREATED BY BALTIMORE DEVELOPMENT AND JOHNS HOPKINS---THEY KNOW THE PROBLEMS.
So, for two decades since Clinton neo-liberals got hold of the Democratic Party and since neo-conservative Hopkins gained hold of all Baltimore public policy----we have seen the building of structures for installing this SMART CITY control.
NEVER ONCE IS THIS DATA COLLECTION SHOWN ON GETTING RID OF WIDESPREAD CORPORATE FRAUD AND GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION MOVING BILLIONS OF DOLLARS---IT IS ALWAYS FOCUSED AT INDIVIDUAL CITIZENS.
Everyone in Baltimore knows that all of the so-called social non-profits in Baltimore over decades have done nothing for social benefit---they are meant only to move money to Wall Street and Hopkins----they make no social improvements at all. The money moves----media pretends something is happening to improve the underserved communities ----and nothing happens. This is exactly what NGOs overseas have been doing for decades----it is money laundering. These 'data' collection devices simply supply data they want to give----and everyone in Baltimore and around America knows it.
THAT IS WHY O'MALLEY IS BEING BOOed AROUND THE NATION----THEY KNOW HE IS A FRAUD AND TAMMANY HALL.
There is one thing all citizens in Maryland knows----THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO OVERSIGHT AND ACCOUNTABILITY BUILT INTO ANY OF THE STATE'S OR BALTIMORE'S GOVERNMENT AGENCIES DIRECTED AT RULE OF LAW.
Armed With Data, Fighting More Than Crime
By Tina Rosenberg May 2, 2012 7:00 am May 2, 2012 7:00 am Fixes looks at solutions to social problems and why they work.
Government accountability systems don’t usually become global superstars, but CompStat did. The ideas in CompStat were first developed by Jack Maple, when he was a lieutenant in the New York City Transit Police, as a way to track subway crime and more intelligently deploy transit cops. In 1994, when William Bratton, the chief of the transit police, became chief of the New York City Police Department, he brought Maple with him as a deputy. They then applied CompStat principles throughout the city’s entire crime fighting operation. The CompStat era coincided with a staggering decline in crime. Between 1990 and 2011, homicide in New York City declined by 80 percent, robbery by 83 percent, burglary by 86 percent and car theft by 94 percent. During that period crime fell everywhere in the United States, but it fell twice as much and for twice as long in New York City.
How much of this was due to CompStat is still hotly debated. One of the most careful criminologists, Franklin Zimring, gives New York City’s changes in policing (which are not limited to CompStat) credit for a significant share of the crime drop.
CompStat has now become almost as much a part of policing as the blue uniform. A survey last year by the Police Executive Research Forum, a think tank for city police departments, found that 79 percent of medium to large police departments surveyed use some form of the CompStat model.
What is only starting to catch on, though, is the idea that CompStat isn’t just for policing. In Baltimore, which pioneered the application of CompStat to other government business, mayors for the last decade have used a CompStat-style system to run the whole city. CitiStat has greatly improved how the city does the meat-and-potatoes of government: picking up trash, filling potholes. But it goes much further. “We now Stat homelessness, we Stat domestic violence,” Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore’s mayor, said in an interview. “We’re finding more ways to use it — monitoring day-to-day progress, monitoring the pace at which we improve and push it along. We’re doing a citywide analysis of how to use CitiStat to drill down into problems that have been in existence for years.” Baltimore has been trying for years to put in a new computerized system for emergency dispatch of ambulances and firefighters. “We’re creating a Stat process — pull all the people into the same room with independent analysts and figure out how to get rid of roadblocks,” she said.
Robert Behn, a lecturer in public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, counts at least 19 United States cities, a couple of counties and two states — Maryland and Washington — that use CompStat for activities other than police work. Some federal agencies are also adapting the model.
CompStat is popularly seen as a high-tech way of sticking pins in a map. It is much more than that. It starts with collecting data, analyzing it and presenting it in visual form — whether with pins on a map, bar graphs or other charts.
But the key to CompStat is how the data gets used. Maple’s four principles, which he claimed (entirely credibly; this is a guy who wore a homburg and spats) to have jotted down on a napkin in the fall of 1994 in the celebrity hangout Elaine’s, are these:
- Accurate, timely intelligence
- Rapid deployment
- Effective tactics
- Relentless follow-up and assessment
Why did this cause a revolution? After all, this is exactly how good businesses have always been run. CompStat after all, is probably (accounts vary) short for Computer Statistics — now there’s an up-to-the-minute concept.
“There was nothing new about this,” said Andrew Boyd, who runs a Baltimore-based consulting firm called GovStat. “Except that it’s a private-sector concept that had never been embraced by the public sector.”
When Martin O’Malley was running for mayor of Baltimore, reducing crime was a centerpiece of his campaign. He knew about CompStat, of course, and after he won the Democratic nomination — which in Baltimore is the same as winning the election — he called Maple. In the fall of 1999, just before O’Malley took office, Maple and O’Malley took a drive around East Baltimore. “They were playing a favorite game of Maple’s — spot the cop,” Michael Enright, O’Malley’s first deputy mayor, recounted in an interview. “He liked to see how present police officers were in the most violent parts of the city. It was extraordinary how few cops you see, how long it would take to see a uniformed presence.”
As they drove and talked about CompStat, Maple commented that CompStat wasn’t just for policing — it was for everything. O’Malley didn’t buy it. “Certain things can’t be measured,” he said.
“Name them,” said Maple.
O’Malley mentioned at-risk kids. Maple started to list potential indicators: Look at this playground — these basketball hoops have no nets. What other parks have no nets? What hours is this rec center open? Are they the same hours as peak time for juvenile violence?
“Anything O’Malley said, Maple could rattle off things that have an impact that the mayor could control,” said Enright. “We were grappling with how we get our arms around this city and the enormous wheels of government we’d been handed. O’Malley came back and said, ‘We’re going to do this.’”
Less than six months later, O’Malley and Enright presided over the first meeting of Baltimore’s CitiStat.
CitiStat cost only about $20,000 to set up (instead of expensive custom software, it used Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint) and about $350,000 to $400,000 to run each year — mainly the salaries of four analysts and an investigator. The initial problem was data. Unlike police departments, which collect data on how they’re doing every time they write up an arrest report, other agencies had no performance data. Bring in whatever you have, O’Malley told his agency directors — later we’ll decide what you should start collecting. “We spent the first six months struggling to figure out what to measure,” said Enright, who ran the CitiStat meetings.
At first, the agencies had only personnel records and their budgets. But those proved useful. Once analyzed, they showed a widespread pattern of abuse of overtime, rampant absenteeism and use of city cars for private purposes — city officials drove them home every night.
The other early focus for CitiStat was on how the city handled complaints. Any Baltimore resident trying to report a problem — a pothole, uncollected trash, a gushing fire hydrant — got bounced around to 4 or 5 different phone numbers. The complaints were not tracked, and as a result, things didn’t get fixed. O’Malley created a “One Call to City Hall” 311 number. Each complaint was now tracked and followed up, and operators were trained to make each caller a promise: for example, the city will fix your pothole in 72 hours (it later became 48). And whether the city kept those promises became more data for CitiStat.
Related More From Fixes Read previous contributions to this series.
Every two weeks, each agency head would come to a CitiStat meeting, facing Enright, sometimes the Mayor, and the heads of the departments of finance, labor, legal and information technology. Before the meeting, a CitiStat analyst went over the latest data from the agency, pulled out the important stuff and put it in graphic form. The agency director stood at a podium, his senior staff seated behind him, and the information was projected onto the wall. The first questions were always follow-up: how are you doing on the last meeting’s projects? Then there were questions about new issues. When solutions were discussed, there was no need to schedule a meeting with the city’s solicitors or budget director, because they were in the room. By 5 p.m. that day, the CitiStat analyst had written and circulated a short list of commitments the agency had made or information it needed to provide. “We expected that when you come back in two weeks you will have answers to these questions,” said Enright.
By 2003, Baltimore had reduced overtime by 30 percent, and absenteeism was cut by half in the agencies where it had been attacked. City services had been greatly improved — snow was removed and trash picked up, potholes filled, lead abatements performed. By the end of 2006, O’Malley’s last year in office, Enright said the program had saved the city nearly half a billion dollars over his tenure.
Is this a bargain? In terms of cash, certainly. But the cost of CitiStat is actually quite high measured in terms of the time of the mayor and his senior staff. Enright, for example, attended five 90-minute meetings every week. CitiStat has to be run by senior staff, to get agency heads to take it seriously. (The early firing of two nonperforming agency heads, the chiefs of parks and of water, was another clear message.) Some agency heads, said Enright, realized it was an opportunity. If they could show they could spend money well, they’d get more when they needed it, quickly. “Most saw it as keep your head down and it will go away. There was a certain passive-aggressive nature to meetings.”
It didn’t go away. Ten years later, the program has evolved, said Chad Kenney, a CitiStat analyst. “It used to be a very agency-specific conversation — about getting agencies used to data, collecting data and making decisions based on data. As that became ingrained we realized most things don’t just touch one agency.” Now there is CleanStat, which looks at not just whether the Solid Waste department is picking up trash on time, but whether Transportation maintains street medians, whether the Parks department keeps parks tidy and whether Housing enforces relevant building codes.
“It’s a learning process,” said Kenney. “What we were measuring in 2002 is very different than what we look at now — we learn that actually, this metric isn’t the best metric for what we’re trying to accomplish.”
One example goes back to crime control. CitiStat initially focused on arrests, but now the focus is on gun crime. “If our goal is a safer city, we want to look at guns, gun violence and violent repeat offenders, because they’re driving crime,” Kenney said. Since GunStat was established in 2008, arrests, in fact, have dropped. But so have shootings — down from 651 in 2007 to 368 last year — and homicides, down from 282 in 2007 to 197 last year.
“The traditional way of being successful in a large bureaucracy is to not screw up,” said Harvard’s Behn. CitiStat-style programs, he said, change that – “from not screwing up and staying out of the newspapers to a list of things they are supposed to accomplish. People are aware there are things they’re responsible for accomplishing, and they eventually drive that down into the organization.”
THEY DON'T HAVE BALTIMORE'S SUCCESS BECAUSE BALTIMORE JUKES THE STATS FOR GOODNESS SAKE.
Not every city that has instituted a Stat program has had Baltimore’s success, but not everyone has done it the way Baltimore has. “They mimic the superficial features,” said Behn. “They show up in Baltimore and see a meeting. But they don’t get the importance of follow-up, and the importance of the chief showing that this isn’t going away.”
O’Malley is now governor of Maryland. The StateStat tenets on its home page are exactly the same ones Jack Maple scrawled on his napkin at Elaine’s. “It’s how he runs the state,” said Enright. “I have yet to see a better way to manage vast bureaucracies than this system.”
Have you? If your city has a form of CitiStat, how well does it work? Are there problems in your city that might benefit from a Stat approach? Where else might such an approach work? Let us know.
O'Malley is Big Data candidate----he is the face of SMART CITIES and this totalitarian global corporate control of all public functions in cities around the world that will become the International Economic Zones under Global Corporate Tribunal Rule.
O'Malley showed data that made him look like he was successful in all kinds of categories----and in each case a few years after he releases the data it is found to be fraudulent. His crime stats, his job growth stats, his education stats, his community development stats----ALL FOUND TO BE FALSE BY FEDERAL INVESTIGATION----GOVERNMENT WATCHDOG INVESTIGATION----anytime someone outside the State of Maryland looks at the data----they see the fraud.
BIG DATA is BIG NSA------surveillance and spying-----BIG GLOBAL CORPORATION buying and selling our personal data for profit------and BIG SMART GRID with the goal of controlling every bit of our public infrastructure and vital services. The Republicans have the mirror of O'Malley in Bobby Jindal of New Orleans-----Jindal is a neo-conservative that made New Orleans the first SMART CITY-----joining third world cities in installing these policies.
Jindal is the Global Corporate Tribunal Rule pol pretending to be a Republican as a Bush neo-conservative-----and O'Malley is the Global Corporate Tribunal Rule pol pretending to be a Democrat as a Clinton neo-liberal.
Meet The Big Data Candidate Of The 2016 Presidential Race
- Nov. 11, 2014, 6:28 AM Business Insider
Throughout his political career, O'Malley has been obsessed with data. Now, he appears to be mulling whether to mount a potential primary challenger to 2016 front-runner Hillary Clinton. If he does run, it seems his devotion to performance metrics could become a major part of his platform.
"It is not like the old way that was very often hierarchical, and bureaucratic, ideological — orders from on high that eventually make it to the bottom of the pyramid," O'Malley recently told Business Insider in his Annapolis office, which is adorned with historic paintings and war memorabilia. "It's relentlessly interactive. It is performance-measured."
Minutes before the interview, O'Malley completed one of his regular "StateStat" meetings where his data-centric methods were on full display.
During the meeting, the governor sat at the center of a table encircled by his top aides and uniformed state police troopers wielding tablets and laptops. Before a PowerPoint presentation began, two screen projectors displayed the motto: "A deadline is the difference between a dream and a goal."
Violent crime was the first item on the agenda. A map of Maryland showed a clear drop across various counties. However, there was one exception in the Western corner of the state: Garrett County, population roughly 30,000. The officers and O'Malley's team debated what caused the spike.
O'Malley's office.Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is particularly proud of the work his state did to reduce the backlog of unprocessed DNA samples with "DNA Stat."
"I know it's a drop in the bucket," one aide admitted while pressing for more details.
They moved on to other crime statistics. Each PowerPoint slide had either a colorful map or chart. Maryland’s governor was full of questions.
"Do we fund that?" he asked about domestic abuse coordinators at hospitals. "Have the frontline people seen that graph?"
O'Malley's queries continued throughout the meeting.
"Have you ever sat them down as a group and asked what they could be doing better?"
"Where are we on traffic fatalities? It's down, but what's the number?"
"What do the numbers say? This is our best graph?"
Afterwards, O'Malley told Business Insider visualizing data is a key component of his management style.
"I think I've always had a knack for the spatial and for understanding things spatially — how things are connected," he explained. "I think it's really illuminating and clarifying when you can actually chart, graph, and map problems, and opportunities, and interventions, and actions."
'Nothing Short of Confrontational' O'Malley's interest in data-centric governing was inspired by a program associated with an unlikely role model for a progressive Democrat — former New York City mayor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani.
During Giuliani's administration in the mid-1990s, the mayor and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton revolutionized the city's crime-fighting policy with a program known as CompStat that has been described as both a tool and a management philosophy. Short for "compare stats," CompStat isn't an especially complicated concept. Its central tenets are that police departments should track the specifics of crime data and complaints, deploy resources to troubled locations, and hold local commanders accountable for the results.
Bratton credited the program for helping him achieve record-breaking drops in crime. According to Newsday, hundreds of police agencies around the country now use a CompStat-like system.
"CompStat was one of the most revolutionary developments in policing in the last century," Vincent Henry, a former NYPD officer who worked with Bratton, told the paper. "It was revolutionary, it changed the way people do business, changed the way police think about crime."
AP/Gail BurtonThen-Councilman Martin O'Malley, right, on the campaign trail in 1999.
O'Malley, who was then a Baltimore city councilman, made a surprising bid for mayor in 1999 and reportedly campaigned on halving Baltimore's crippling crime rate. This would be no small feat: Constant homicides had painfully earned the city nicknames like "Bodymore, Murdaland" and "Bulletmore, Murderland." O'Malley has said Baltimore was then "the most violent and addicted big city in America."
As a white politician facing a majority-black electorate, it initially seemed the odds were against him. (He was an inspiration for the Tommy Carcetti character in "The Wire" but is said to still hate the show with a "taut fury.") In an election focused on crime, O'Malley nevertheless surged, got the support of important black leaders, and easily won his primary.
According to the Baltimore Sun, O'Malley never reached his goal of cutting the city's homicide rate from more than 300 to 175 annually. However, "he drove the killings down to 253 in 2003, and for the next six years Baltimore experienced the sharpest reduction in violent crime of any city in the country."
But O'Malley wasn't content to just apply the data-centered approach to crime, as Matt Gallagher, his former chief of staff, recalled.
"As things began to work on the policing side because of CompStat, then-Mayor O'Malley began to ask us questions. Like, 'Boy, I wish I had something like CompStat for the rest of the city," Gallagher told Business Insider.
O'Malley's OfficeGov. Martin O'Malley has touted his work to reduce wait time at Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administration through "MVA Stat."
O'Malley ended up doing exactly that. Gallagher, who became director of the new "CitiStat" program, said O'Malley started with the department of public works but soon monitored everything from overtime hours to the time it took to fill potholes after a complaint.
Of course, O'Malley's administration didn't solely rely on statistics and charts. CitiStat also involved on-the-ground assessments of local agencies — and there were some surprises along the way.
"After we studied potholes for a while, we learned that ... only one in 10 potholes was being filled as the result of a complaint. We came out and gave the '48-hour pothole guarantee,'" Gallagher said. "People were really happy. We kind of took that same approach and applied it to things like graffiti and abandoned vehicle removal."
Gallagher said the program sometimes led O'Malley's staff to uncover waste and abuse in unexpected places.
"Site visits used to be a really big part of what we did — try and get out in the field and see what is going on. I remember in City Hall we went to a garage one day where vehicles were being worked on. We found a team of people who were grilling food, having a barbecue in the middle of the workday," he recalled. "Some were fired; some were disciplined. The barbecue equipment was moved."
CitiStat was credited as a massive success and was considered both effective and aggressive. In 2004, Baltimore won an "Innovations in American Government" award from Harvard's Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovations, which called the city's program "nothing short of confrontational."
"In biweekly meetings, the manager of each city agency must stand at a podium and answer questions from a panel led by the mayor or his appointed inquisitor," the Ash Center said at the time. "CitiStat's primary innovation is its ability to tailor performance evaluations to each agency: the animal control manager must explain an increase in strays and propose a solution; the housing manager must explain a chart of vacant houses and the plans to resolve this problem; all managers may be asked to explain each hour of their department's overtime."
According to Gallagher, O'Malley was eager to apply CitiStat on an even bigger scale. In the 2006 governor's race, he earned the chance to fulfill this ambition when he rode that year's Democratic wave and unseated incumbent Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R).
"I think most people would say it was his signature management accomplishment as mayor of Baltimore. Fast forward to 2006, when the mayor ran for governor, he pledged that he was going to bring CitiStat to the state," Gallagher said. "He got inaugurated in January of 2007; two months later you had the first 'StateStat' meeting."
Bob Behn, a Harvard Professor who wrote a book about the CompStat and CitiStat programs, The PerformanceStat Potential, told Business Insider the transition from city to state analytical programs wasn't simple. Many city services are relatively direct and easily converted into statistics — such as the number of potholes filled, or abandoned houses renovated — while state services involve more relatively complex outcomes.
"The city was filling potholes, right? That's very operational, easy to count, easy for citizens to see, easy for citizens to complain about. ... They had to make the leap to the state where they weren't doing the same sort of operational thing," Behn said. "The ability to make that transition was not something that everybody could have done, let's just put it that way."
Gov. Martin O'Malley's office.An example of some of the "Baystat" statistics.
Still, today, StateStat has expanded to cover a plethora of wide-ranging issues with specific policy goals. They include: reducing the nitrogen and phosphorous in the Chesapeake Bay through "Baystat," reducing infant mortality 10% by 2017, and doubling transit ridership by 2020. Touting O'Malley's analytics, Governing magazine put him on the cover in 2009.
Of course, by presenting specific goals, O'Malley also sets himself up to fail when they aren't achieved. For example, progress on the transit ridership goal is lagging. The StateStat website has a red downward arrow next to the substance abuse section, noting: "-7.4% Progress towards Accidental or Undetermined Intoxication Death Reduction Goal of 20 percent in Maryland."
"There's lots of political people that would say, 'Don't do that, you have an election coming up,'" O'Malley said of the potential for public failure inherent in his program. "The reality is what the reality is: We're losing too many people to heroin overdoses, but it's not for lack of being aware of it. It's not for lack of doing things to combat it."
He soon added: "It was the rare mayor — man or woman — who would already have a term under their belt that would be willing to embrace this. So, I've found newer mayors did this more freely because they did not have to own the past performance and the past numbers."
'What Would It Take to Do It on the Federal Level?' When asked about creating a "stat" program for the federal government, O'Malley recalled a conversation he once had with Jack Maple, the architect of CompStat in New York who worked with him to bring the program to Baltimore.
"I said, 'Jack, we should do this in a few departments of Baltimore City.' And Jack said that, 'You should do it for the entire city.' I said, 'Well the city might be too big.' He says, 'No. It's not too big. But because it's big, that should mean you want to do it throughout the city,' ... It's even more urgently needed the larger an organization, because the number of combinations of actions become more multiple and more layered. All the more important that there be a management discipline, a management rhythm — a visible, measurable way to determine where our dollars go," O'Malley recounted.
AP/Brian WitteGov. Martin O'Malley looks at a chart showing pollution monitoring efforts in the Chesapeake Bay while aboard the R/V Rachel Carson on the Bush River in Maryland.
It's difficult to know what exactly is in O'Malley's head when it comes to his presidential ambitions, but it's clear he has them. Unlike every other Democrat — including Clinton — O'Malley is attending local, small-ball campaign events and deploying political staff to key presidential primary states' local races. Some speculate he could be aiming for something more modest, such as the vice presidency or a cabinet position in a Clinton administration.
O'Malley will only say he is "seriously considering" a run for president. In spite of this, O'Malley was willing to offer some not-so-subtle hints that he's contemplating bringing his data-based approach to the White House.
"What would it take to do it on the federal level? The same thing it takes to do at the mayoral level or the gubernatorial level. And that's executive commitment," said O'Malley. "If the executive, the man or woman standing at the center of the circle, isn't committed to create this new way of governing and this new executive method, it's not going to happen. The bureaucracies will wait you out. You might have a press conference. You might even give a good speech about it. But if you're not doing it everyday, in every way, you're not going to change the culture."
However, O'Malley's critics argue his record in Maryland doesn't actually withstand rigorous analysis
Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (R), who worked under Ehrlich and went on to head the GOP's national committee, mocked O'Malley's data-based approach with his own take on the numbers.
"He didn't turn sh-- around. He made it worse. We left him with a $2 billion surplus in the rainy day fund. There's now a $2 billion deficit," Steele told Business Insider.
Steele scoffed: "So much for analytics."
O'Malley, who would be the unquestioned underdog against a candidate like Clinton, may have become even more of a presidential long-shot in recent weeks. His handpicked successor, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D), was upset on Election Day by Republican businessman Larry Hogan despite the Democratic tilt of the state. Hogan's campaign focused on bread-and-butter issues like state tax increases — not StateStat. Still, Brown's defeat could be a sign O'Malley's statistics-based management style won't be enough win over voters.
Asked for comment on Brown's loss, O'Malley spokeswoman Lis Smith pointed to the governor's decisive 2010 re-election campaign, a rematch against Ehrlich.
"In 2010, Governor O'Malley ran on the results his data-driven approach achieved for the people of Maryland. He bucked the national trend and won by 14 points," Smith said in a statement. "His data-driven approach resonates most prominently in cities, where dozens of mayors have adopted the CitiStat program then-Mayor O’Malley pioneered in Baltimore. Especially in this time of anxiety, Americans want more results, transparency, and accountability in government, not less."
Gov. Martin O'Malley's officeGov. Martin O'Malley set the goal to increase Maryland's renewable energy generation from 5.6% of the energy generated to 20% by 2022. It now stands at 8.2%.
O'Malley appears to be similarly framing his data-centric approach for a national audience. In addition to racking up a laundry list of progressive achievements — including same-sex marriage, gun control, and immigration reform laws — O'Malley is offering some soft criticism of the Democratic Party's loyalty to government programs that may not be cost-effective.
"I think sometimes the one party undercuts its arguments for accountability and fiscal responsibility by its mad drive to dismantle government," he said, referring to Republicans. "In the same way, I think sometimes our own party undercuts our arguments for effective governance by not be willing to make our actions accountable. ... If they don't work we should stop doing them and find something new that works better."
Though that sort of tough talk against wasteful government programs is more common among conservatives, O'Malley insisted there's no conflict between being liberal and being focused on data.
"I don't find anything contradictory with wanting a government to work more effectively," O'Malley said.
He paused before explaining himself again in less wonky terms.
"How can I say it in a pithier, more quotable kind of way?" he asked. "I borrowed this idea from Giuliani's administration in New York. And I really could give a rat's ass that it was a Republican administration at the time. It was an idea that worked."
Obama and Clinton neo-liberals funded as a stimulus package the costs of these super-computer installations in cities set to move forward as SMART CITY International Economic Zones. If you are going to be an independent zone in the Northern Hemisphere acting as a colony of the Global Corporate Tribunal----you need to have all of capacity the Federal and State government has built right in that International Economic Zone government structure.
So, CitiStat was simply moving funds to build the platform for what is now moving towards this SMART CITY policy of control by Global Corporate Tribunal.
The article looks conspiracy theory but it is not------all SMART technology products are following citizens in all ways. Our phones/computers have implanted GPS whether we want it or not-----they are being built to allow for the NSA surveillance of our emails/social media communications-----cars have tracking devices-----your discount food cards are listing and selling all food and products you buy and that is being transferred to health corporations and health insurers who will charge you more because they know you drink soda and like ice cream. SMART TVs that surveill? I do not think that would be far-fetched in this environment. We know that SMART METERS super-sizes this as everything we do inside our homes will be monitored----from how we use appliances, what we throw away, and ration according to corporate standards for profit. We are at a point where a corporation forces you to sign all rights to all your information in order to access their business and since global corporations control all business---you have to sign away your rights.
Espionage was always a fascist government operation----Stalin, Hitler, and Mao had huge networks of surveillance. Now it is corporate fascism.....by the same few sociopaths!
Singapore is the first completely SMART GRID nation with BAHRAIN coming in fast. Both are the most neo-liberal Wall Street cities in the world and they are completely autocratic and corporate controlled.
Take a look at this article---I could not copy and post it as they do not want it shared.
Johns Hopkins building data analysis supercomputer
With help from the U.S. National Science Foundation, Johns Hopkins builds a data mining supercomputercomputerworld.com|By Joab Jackson
Big Brother Surveillance – It Is Not Just For Governments Anymore By Michael Snyder, on March 12th, 2014
Traditionally, when we have thought of “Big Brother technology” we have thought of government oppression. But these days, it isn’t just governments that are using creepy new technologies to spy on all of us. As you will see below, “Big Brother surveillance” has become very big business. In the information age, knowledge is power, and big corporations seem to have an endless thirst for even more of it. So it isn’t just governments that are completely obsessed with watching, tracking, monitoring and recording virtually everything that we do. Corporations have discovered that they can use Orwellian technologies to make lots of money, and this is likely only going to get worse in the years ahead. Below, I have shared a few examples of this phenomenon…
Private Companies Are Using Automated License Plate Readers To Spy On You
Did you know that people that work for private companies are driving around scanning our license plates?
I never knew this until I came across an article about it the other day. The following is an excerpt from that article…
Few notice the “spotter car” from Manny Sousa’s repo company as it scours Massachusetts parking lots, looking for vehicles whose owners have defaulted on their loans. Sousa’s unmarked car is part of a technological revolution that goes well beyond the repossession business, transforming any industry that wants to check on the whereabouts of ordinary people.
An automated reader attached to the spotter car takes a picture of every license plate it passes and sends it to a company in Texas that already has more than 1.8 billion plate scans from vehicles across the country.
These scans mean big money for Sousa — typically $200 to $400 every time the spotter finds a vehicle that’s stolen or in default — so he runs his spotter around the clock, typically adding 8,000 plate scans to the database in Texas each day.
Your Cell Phone Is Spying On You
If you carry a cell phone around with you, then you are willingly offering up a whole host of information about yourself. This is something that I have written about previously, but I never realized that some private companies are now setting up sensors in businesses to purposely capture information from the cell phones of anyone that walks in. Yes, this is actually happening according to the Wall Street Journal…
Fan Zhang, the owner of Happy Child, a trendy Asian restaurant in downtown Toronto, knows that 170 of his customers went clubbing in November. He knows that 250 went to the gym that month, and that 216 came in from Yorkville, an upscale neighborhood.
And he gleans this information without his customers’ knowledge, or ever asking them a single question.
Mr. Zhang is a client of Turnstyle Solutions Inc., a year-old local company that has placed sensors in about 200 businesses within a 0.7 mile radius in downtown Toronto to track shoppers as they move in the city.
Entire “Big Brother Housing Developments” Are Now Being Designed
Would you live in a housing development with a sophisticated “video surveillance program” and that uses automated license plate scanners to monitor everyone who comes and goes from the community?
In a country that is becoming increasingly obsessed with “security”, these new kinds of housing developments are surely going to be quite popular. The following is an excerpt from an article about one of these communities that is being built in California…
A new, scenic development surrounded by winding waterways is billed as a safe haven.
Only four bridges lead in and out of the area with security checkpoints and a fiberoptic video surveillance program. Every license plate scanned on those roads will be cross-checked with a DMV database for stolen cars.
The first homes are already going up at River Islands, and the people who move in can expect to be part of a new era in policing.
Disney Implements The “MagicBand” Tracking Device
Would you wear an RFID tracking device that allows you to buy stuff and that monitors you wherever you go?
Well, Disney actually wants their customers to willingly use this technology.
They are calling it the “MagicBand”, and perhaps you have already watched one of the new Disney commercials about it. You can see what Disney has to say about “MagicBand” right here.
In the video posted below, activist Mark Dice discusses this troubling move by Disney…
Our “Smart Televisions” Are Spying On Us
How would you feel if I told you that your expensive new television is actually spying on you?
You probably would not be too excited to hear that.
Well, depending on the actual brand, this is really happening. In fact, one brand of television actually sends information about every button that press on your remote back to corporate headquarters…
An IT consultant called Jason Huntley, who lives in a village near Hull, uncovered evidence that a flat-screen television, which had been sitting in his living room since the summer, was secretly invading his family’s privacy.
He began investigating the £400 LG device after noticing that its home screen appeared to be showing him ‘targeted’ adverts — for cars, and Knorr stock cubes — based on programmes he’d just been watching.
Huntley decided to monitor information that the so-called smart TV — which connects to the internet — was sending and receiving. He did this by using his laptop effectively as a bridge between his television and the internet receiver, so the laptop was able to show all the data being sucked out of his set.
He soon discovered that details of not just every show he watched but every button he pressed on his remote control were being sent back to LG’s corporate headquarters in South Korea.
Data Mining – Your Personal Information Is Big Business
There are huge companies that most people have never even heard of that do nothing but buy and sell our personal information. The collection of this personal information is called “data mining”, and it is extremely profitable.
In fact, there is one company called Acxiom that made a profit of more than 77 million dollars in one recent year by collecting and selling info about all of us.
In case you were wondering, yes, Acxiom almost certainly has a profile on you too…
The company fits into a category called database marketing. It started in 1969 as an outfit called Demographics Inc., using phone books and other notably low-tech tools, as well as one computer, to amass information on voters and consumers for direct marketing. Almost 40 years later, Acxiom has detailed entries for more than 190 million people and 126 million households in the U.S., and about 500 million active consumers worldwide. More than 23,000 servers in Conway, just north of Little Rock, collect and analyze more than 50 trillion data ‘transactions’ a year.
As long as these technologies are legal and businesses can make money this way, they are going to keep doing it.
So even if we stopped the rapid expansion of “Big Brother surveillance” by the governments of the world, the reality is that private corporations are going to keep pushing the envelope.
We live in a world that is rapidly changing, and unless a miracle happens we soon will not have very much privacy left at all.
All of this is why justice activists around the world are shouting that Trans Pacific Trade Pact is not about free trade----it is about dismantling national sovereignty in those nations signing----LIKE THE US-----and building the government structures necessary for this global corporate tribunal rule.
IT IS NOT ABOUT FREE TRADE JUST AS CITISTAT WAS NEVER ABOUT CREATING QUALITY PUBLIC SERVICE----
The American people must WAKE UP-----the world is successfully throwing off this Wall Street global corporate control of their nations while America sits and watches Obama and Clinton neo-liberals dismantled our Federal government and send trillions of dollars to building this SMART CITIES and International Economic Zone structure tied to Trans Pacific Trade Pact.
While these deals are falling through on particular policy issues----it is critical to get rid of the neo-liberals controlling the political parties to the left -----as with Labour in Canada, UK, and Australia----and with the Democratic Party in the US. Meanwhile, the Tea Party and Libertarians one the right are fighting against the same on the Republican side.
Neo-cons and neo-liberals are not Democrats and Republicans---they are simply pols working to advance this global corporate rule----an autocratic totalitarian global corporate state. SMART GRID would make Stalin, Mao, and Hitler green with envy in controlling huge populations with secret service agencies.
Does anyone believe the goal of TPP is levelling up when every nation tied to neo-liberal economic policy has extreme wealth inequity? Global corporations will keep pushing to the lowest common denominator. These global pols expect to take the US down to third world levels---not bring those nations up.
'He said the TPP accord would result in “levelling up, as opposed to a race to the bottom.”'
They would not dare announce a signed agreement before the 2016 elections and they need an economic crash as is coming with the bond market as an excuse to install all these TPP policies quickly.
Trade ministers fail to forge Trans-Pacific pact Dispute over Canadian dairy tariffs, protection of some cutting-edge drugs and Japanese access to the North American automobile market stymie deal.
People pass an advertisement protesting the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in Washington, D.C. on July 23. Talks to forge the deal broke up Friday without resolving issues that include a dispute over Canadian dairy tariffs.
By: Steven Mufson The Washington Post, Published on Fri Jul 31 2015 WASHINGTON—High-level talks to forge a 12-nation trade deal spanning the Pacific broke up Friday without resolving contentious disputes over Canadian dairy tariffs, the protection of cutting-edge drugs known as “biologics,” and Japanese access to the North American automobile market.
Negotiators said they would continue to seek agreement over the coming months, but the failure to wrap up the accord, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, was a setback for U.S. President Barack Obama, who hopes that the completion of a deal will be one of his signature achievements.
Further talks could still produce an accord before the end of the year, but earlier, American officials had been hopeful that the four days of negotiations, which took place this week in beachside hotels on the Hawaiian island of Maui, could produce a final agreement.
Substantial progress was made in certain areas, including the completion of a chapter about environmental protection. Negotiators also made progress on whether geographic places can be trademarks for items such as cheeses.
But the trade ministers could not work out other issues, despite lengthy sessions. The top trade ministers themselves met until well past midnight Thursday but still could not bridge differences over intellectual property and how many years of protection to provide data belonging to the makers of biologic drugs from natural chemicals.
Those companies have 12 years’ protection in the United States under the Affordable Care Act, but some TPP countries offer as little as three years’ protection.
When completed, the Trans-Pacific Partnership would be composed of more than 100,000 tariff lines, cover economies with 40 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product, and include more than 20 different chapters addressing issues such as labour conditions, wildlife trafficking and human rights, as well as trade.
But the secret negotiations have drawn sharp criticism from unions, human rights groups and the overwhelming majority of congressional Democrats. Obama barely scraped together enough support in June to secure negotiating authority from Congress in a close vote on Trade Promotion Authority commonly known as fast track.
The delay in wrapping up the terms of the accord makes it more likely that a final agreement would not go to Congress for approval until 2016, when political considerations will be even more in the forefront of lawmakers’ minds. But U.S. officials said any setback would be temporary and that the trade accord, which has been under negotiation for six years, was still within reach. And they have observed that political concerns were already front and centre in Congress as well as the presidential campaign.
“The calendar is never your friend,” Susan Schwab, the trade negotiator for president George W. Bush, said earlier in the week. “When you have 12 countries, somebody’s always going to have an election.”
One of the week’s toughest issues was how much to cut dairy tariffs in Canada. Canada, which is the United States’ largest trading partner, is holding elections in October, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper is reluctant to rouse the ire of dairy farmers who benefit from tariffs of up to 296 per cent.
U.S.-Canada ties have already been strained over the Obama administration’s failure to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oilsands oil from northern Alberta to refineries on the Texas gulf coast.
Canada did offer to reduce the tariffs, but other countries felt the offer wasn’t adequate. New Zealand, in particular, is eager to gain access to the Canadian dairy market and was not satisfied with the proposal.
In other areas, Japan appeared probable to gradually reduce tariffs on pork and beef but was more reluctant to give access to foreign rice growers.
The United States sought to write in a clause that would help establish safeguards so that frivolous lawsuits could not be brought under the investor-state dispute settlement process that was widely criticized by liberal Democrats. The critics said it allows companies to use international arbitration to undercut national regulations.
Japan was also seeking more concessions on what is known as “rules of origin” that determine what national source of auto parts that are made with components from different countries. Japanese automakers want to use components made in non-TPP countries such as Thailand.
The country most notably absent from the talks has been China, the second-largest trading partner with the United States and the biggest trading partner with most of the Asian countries that are part of the accord. Obama has pointedly said that he favours the TPP because he does not want China to be setting lower standards.
“If we are not there helping to shape the rules of the road, then U.S. businesses and U.S. workers are going to be cut out, because there’s a pretty big country there, called China, that is growing fast, has great gravitational pull and often operates with different sets of rules,” Obama said in an interview in June with public radio show Marketplace.
Obama said that China had expressed interest in joining the TPP later, but he said that by that time TPP would have set standards and “then China is going to have to at least take those international norms into account.” He said the TPP accord would result in “levelling up, as opposed to a race to the bottom.”
In addition to negotiators, corporate lobbyists and others have been in Maui hoping to corner people involved in negotiations. One was Rep. Sander Levin, (D-Mich.), who earlier said that he was also concerned about currency manipulation that could artificially boost a country’s exports; the possibility of long protection times for certain drugs and limits in access that could result; and whether goods from non-TPP countries, such as China, could be incorporated into products made by member countries and turn those non-TPP countries into free riders.
Levin said he also wanted the TPP to explicitly reserve the right of member countries to regulate tobacco products.
“It’s always been my goal to have strong bipartisan support for a major trade bill,” Levin said. “There’s been too little meaningful congressional involvement despite all the consultations.”
No one believes that the extent of the NSA spying was contained to what Obama and Congress told us-----we know it goes beyond protecting from terrorists and checking phone and social media. This was Bush's contribution to the SMART GRID for global corporate tribunal control. The neo-cons are the military/defense/energy/surveillance/spying side of this global corporate rule and the neo-liberals are the finance/food/ technology side. We know that Google and social media was developed for this SMART GRID collection of surveillance----it is not simply a corporation. This was Bush's side of SMART GRID while in US cities Wall Street pols like O'Malley were creating CITISTAT-----the next phase of SMART CITY. Now, as a baby boomer I lived in what was a social capitalism where regulations, oversight and accountability over corporations and enforced Rule of Law created the most efficient and effective operation of both corporations and government----it was aimed at keeping the economy strong and people with disposable income to fuel the economy. THAT WAS WHAT MIDDLE-MANAGEMENT DID FOR A CENTURY AND IT WAS DESIGNED TO KEEP PEOPLE AND CORPORATIONS HONEST. This SMART CITY has nothing to do with that. It has only to do with maximizing global corporate profits and making sure all revenue moves to the top. Privatizing all of America's public sector makes sure of this!
IF LEFT UNCHECKED----PEOPLE WILL BE MADE AFRAID OF SAYING OR DOING EVERYTHING------AND THAT IS WHAT MAKES FASCISTS ABLE TO CONTROL LARGE POPULATIONS.
Boundless Informant: the NSA's secret tool to track global surveillance data Revealed: The NSA's powerful tool for cataloguing global surveillance data – including figures on US collection
The color scheme ranges from green (least subjected to surveillance) through yellow and orange to red (most surveillance). Note the '2007' date in the image relates to the document from which the interactive map derives its top secret classification, not to the map itself. Guardian Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill
Tuesday 11 June 2013 09.00 EDT Last modified on Thursday 9 October 2014 06.16 EDT
The Guardian has acquired top-secret documents about the NSA datamining tool, called Boundless Informant, that details and even maps by country the voluminous amount of information it collects from computer and telephone networks.
The focus of the internal NSA tool is on counting and categorizing the records of communications, known as metadata, rather than the content of an email or instant message.
The Boundless Informant documents show the agency collecting almost 3 billion pieces of intelligence from US computer networks over a 30-day period ending in March 2013. One document says it is designed to give NSA officials answers to questions like, "What type of coverage do we have on country X" in "near real-time by asking the SIGINT [signals intelligence] infrastructure."
An NSA factsheet about the program, acquired by the Guardian, says: "The tool allows users to select a country on a map and view the metadata volume and select details about the collections against that country."
Under the heading "Sample use cases", the factsheet also states the tool shows information including: "How many records (and what type) are collected against a particular country."
A snapshot of the Boundless Informant data, contained in a top secret NSA "global heat map" seen by the Guardian, shows that in March 2013 the agency collected 97bn pieces of intelligence from computer networks worldwide.
The heat map reveals how much data is being collected from around the world. Note the '2007' date in the image relates to the document from which the interactive map derives its top secret classification, not to the map itself. Guardian Iran was the country where the largest amount of intelligence was gathered, with more than 14bn reports in that period, followed by 13.5bn from Pakistan. Jordan, one of America's closest Arab allies, came third with 12.7bn, Egypt fourth with 7.6bn and India fifth with 6.3bn.
The heatmap gives each nation a color code based on how extensively it is subjected to NSA surveillance. The color scheme ranges from green (least subjected to surveillance) through yellow and orange to red (most surveillance).
The disclosure of the internal Boundless Informant system comes amid a struggle between the NSA and its overseers in the Senate over whether it can track the intelligence it collects on American communications. The NSA's position is that it is not technologically feasible to do so.
At a hearing of the Senate intelligence committee In March this year, Democratic senator Ron Wyden asked James Clapper, the director of national intelligence: "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?"
"No sir," replied Clapper.
Judith Emmel, an NSA spokeswoman, told the Guardian in a response to the latest disclosures: "NSA has consistently reported – including to Congress – that we do not have the ability to determine with certainty the identity or location of all communicants within a given communication. That remains the case."
Other documents seen by the Guardian further demonstrate that the NSA does in fact break down its surveillance intercepts which could allow the agency to determine how many of them are from the US. The level of detail includes individual IP addresses.
IP address is not a perfect proxy for someone's physical location but it is rather close, said Chris Soghoian, the principal technologist with the Speech Privacy and Technology Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. "If you don't take steps to hide it, the IP address provided by your internet provider will certainly tell you what country, state and, typically, city you are in," Soghoian said.
That approximation has implications for the ongoing oversight battle between the intelligence agencies and Congress.
On Friday, in his first public response to the Guardian's disclosures this week on NSA surveillance, Barack Obama said that that congressional oversight was the American peoples' best guarantee that they were not being spied on.
"These are the folks you all vote for as your representatives in Congress and they are being fully briefed on these programs," he said. Obama also insisted that any surveillance was "very narrowly circumscribed".
Senators have expressed their frustration at the NSA's refusal to supply statistics. In a letter to NSA director General Keith Alexander in October last year, senator Wyden and his Democratic colleague on the Senate intelligence committee, Mark Udall, noted that "the intelligence community has stated repeatedly that it is not possible to provide even a rough estimate of how many American communications have been collected under the Fisa Amendments Act, and has even declined to estimate the scale of this collection."
At a congressional hearing in March last year, Alexander denied point-blank that the agency had the figures on how many Americans had their electronic communications collected or reviewed. Asked if he had the capability to get them, Alexander said: "No. No. We do not have the technical insights in the United States." He added that "nor do we do have the equipment in the United States to actually collect that kind of information".
Soon after, the NSA, through the inspector general of the overall US intelligence community, told the senators that making such a determination would jeopardize US intelligence operations – and might itself violate Americans' privacy.
"All that senator Udall and I are asking for is a ballpark estimate of how many Americans have been monitored under this law, and it is disappointing that the inspectors general cannot provide it," Wyden told Wired magazine at the time.
The documents show that the team responsible for Boundless Informant assured its bosses that the tool is on track for upgrades.
The team will "accept user requests for additional functionality or enhancements," according to the FAQ acquired by the Guardian. "Users are also allowed to vote on which functionality or enhancements are most important to them (as well as add comments). The BOUNDLESSINFORMANT team will periodically review all requests and triage according to level of effort (Easy, Medium, Hard) and mission impact (High, Medium, Low)."
Emmel, the NSA spokeswoman, told the Guardian: "Current technology simply does not permit us to positively identify all of the persons or locations associated with a given communication (for example, it may be possible to say with certainty that a communication traversed a particular path within the internet. It is harder to know the ultimate source or destination, or more particularly the identity of the person represented by the TO:, FROM: or CC: field of an e-mail address or the abstraction of an IP address).
"Thus, we apply rigorous training and technological advancements to combine both our automated and manual (human) processes to characterize communications – ensuring protection of the privacy rights of the American people. This is not just our judgment, but that of the relevant inspectors general, who have also reported this."
She added: "The continued publication of these allegations about highly classified issues, and other information taken out of context, makes it impossible to conduct a reasonable discussion on the merits of these programs."