Predicting Corporate Intelligence Agencies in the 1960s

Article/Op-Ed in War on the Rocks
Jan. 24, 2017

Brian Nussbaum wrote for War on the Rocks about the privatization of intelligence and Bill Fair’s prediction of a “corporate CIA":

The recent tumult around the emergence of a dossier suggesting salacious things about President Donald Trump has cast light on a series of for-profit intelligence firms with names like “Orbis International” and “Fusion GPS.” Such organizations are part of a huge industry providing information, analysis, and “decision advantage” for companies, investors, political parties, and often government agencies. It is a giant industry, and one that was predicted with remarkable insight in 1966.
Bill Fair
Every time one of us applies for a car loan, a mortgage, or myriad other modern conveniences, we agree to a credit check. One of the major providers of this service is Fair, Isaac and Company (NYSE: FICO), which provides the ubiquitous “FICO score,” one of the analytic building blocks of modern consumer lending. Earl Isaac and William “Bill” Fair founded this California-based company in 1956. Fair, an engineer, with degrees from Cal Tech, Stanford, and Berkeley, was a pioneer in “statistically-based decision processes and automated processing technologies.” He was also ahead of his time in thinking about something else: private sector intelligence.