back to article Ex-NSA techies launch data governance tool for future algorithm-slavery

Immuta, a data governance startup in Maryland run by former US National Security Agency technicians, has developed a method to govern how data is used by machine learning algorithms. Dubbed "Projects," the new addition to Immuta's data governance platform embeds what the company considers "key GDPR [EU's General Data …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Never expected to see "NSA" and "governance" in the same sentence as a serious conversation topic. Other than related to "avoid of governance".

    Wouldn't be surprised to find out there's a hidden dark side of data manipulation and "presenting manipulated data as correct" though, given who's involved.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      "presenting manipulated data as correct"

      Why do you mention politics ? Oh, right . . .

  2. Paul Smith

    I call BS!

    This smells like someone is pulling a fast one.

    Even the most modest categorization algorithms produces more branches then can be humanly monitored. You want to know why you have a bad credit rating? It's because the computer says so, that is why.

    Decision trees and Bayesian analysis can just about be followed by the person using them, but stay well clear of even the simplest neural network.

  3. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    "Ex NSA" staff does send a very mixed message.

    Skillz. Yes.

    Trustworthy. TBD

  4. elDog

    So are all auditing functions now obsolete?

    You put something in, you get something out. You humans don't need to know how/why this happened.

    Sounds like a lot of accounting/financial modeling workbooks/sheets that I've been exposed to. "Trust us.", "These have been used for 15 years by the last 200 accountants that sat in your chair. They must be OK."

    In reality, explaining all the inputs/outputs of a neural network would take much more than all the ink in trump's Obama-vetoing pen.

    However, until we (or our other independent auditing robotic masters) can somehow understand how these decisions are reached, we are totally in the dark.

    When the judge asks the defendant (let's call it a car manufacturer), "Why did your car swerve to the left to kill the pedestrian?" can the defendant say "I don't know, perhaps it was to avoid killing the mother and child on the other side of the street."? We don't know, and we won't know - unless we require that every path chosen through the network is documented and audit-able by some external trusted "thing".

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This has been available for some time

    All you need to do is say; "Enterprise Siri, prepare to enable corporate data compliance contextual usage, monitoring, and reporting. [wait for it] ENGAGE!" and Bob's your uncle.

    I'm not sure about their level of trustworthiness as well. Better to hire some devs to wrap some auditing around your data store, then roll out some user-land tools to force people into using the compliance ready methods, or no sale, Johnny. The only thing standing in the way is someone who won't cut a PO to get this started, or some good internal folks who are up to the task. Also, the devs who write this code should be killed at the release, to preserve the secrets of the empire. Or was that the secrets of the Red Keep?

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