Re: Great article, thank you for sharing this!
You have a 2-part question, both good ones. The first part is: are bright data scientists attracted to the government, and I believe the answer is Yes. If presidential elections and other big elections can be waged on big data platforms - as they have been for a few years now - and the outcomes are at least partially being decided based on the prowess of data scientists working on these platforms...I can see how elected officials will want to carry on some of this discipline (for socially useful purposes) even after they get elected, and data scientists therefore continue to find interesting work in the government space. The second part of your question, about the courage to tackle the touchy subject of privacy...I think that when governments and the EU etc use big data and big data technologies extensively to solve social problems, they will be able to have a more nuanced debate with the private sector...as opposed to the somewhat black and white debate that tends to occur today.