Government 'Mind-Mapping' Scheme Inspired by Google Buddies

Here's the stuff of conservative nightmares: The Obama administration wants to "mind map" America using computers, inspired by the Big Brother of Silicon Valley

The Obama administration just announced a new cloud-computing initiative. It claims it merely wants to streamline $75 billion in federal IT spending. So what's with the "mind mapping" component of the plan? And why so cozy with Google?

The "mind mapping" software is listed under "productivity apps" on the cloud computing initiative's website. Glenn Beck, call your office! To paint the president as a socialist big brother, a monster computer "cloud" that centralizes sensitive government information and is deeply interested in your brain is a boon.

Especially when it is tied, however loosely, to that all-seeing corporate eye in Mountain View, California, Google Inc. Google is the leading proponent of cloud computing, in which shrink-wrapped PC software (like, say, Outlook) is replaced with Web applications (like, say, GMail). In fact, NASA Ames CIO Chris Kemp, who is in charge of NASA's cloud computing program, has quoted Google's CEO as an inspiration for it. NASA Ames is where today's federal announcement is being made, so presumably Kemp's work is now spreading.

Government 'Mind-Mapping' Scheme Inspired by Google Buddies

It seems likely Google will be on hand for the announcement: NASA has announced that "top Silicon Valley information technology leaders are scheduled to attend," and, besides, adjoining Moffett Federal Airfield is where top Googlers park their private jets, per arrangement with NASA. Google cronies at private zeppelin company Airship Ventures are also allowed use of the field. Kemp, in turn, has apparently used a Google jet for NASA "meteor hunting," and heralded the release of high-resolution NASA imagery for use on moon.google.com (see 9/17 entry here). He has also hosted "VIP guests," including from the Silicon Valley tech scene, at a space shuttle launch.

This must all seem, no doubt, perfectly innocent to Kemp, who is steeped in the startup world. The 31-year-old worked as chief architect at Classmates.com before being "pushed aside" as co-founder of vacation rental broker Escapia and detouring into the public sector. But amid the increasingly paranoid partisan rancor of Washington, DC, the Obama Administration's "mind mapping" cloud computing plans and ties to Google will inevitably be re-marketed on the distinctly irrational market that is national politics.

(Top image via, second pic via)