Tuesday, November 03, 2009

That's a LOT of Bits

Evidently storing all the data from every telephone conversation and email that shoots around the country since 9/11 and who knows what else has caused a 'crunch' at the NSA. Looks like Ft. Meade is out of room.

The National Security Agency is building huge new storage facilities to store the unconstitutionally gained data on the American people's telephone calls and Internet traffic permanently, including new buildings in suburban Salt Lake City, Utah, and San Antonio, Texas.

The NSA has been keeping permanent records of all American's telephone call habits and Internet traffic since shortly after September 11, 2001, according to major news reports, without the constitutionally required warrants from a court.

No longer able to store all the intercepted phone calls and e-mail in its Ft. Meade, Maryland, headquarters, the NSA is engaging in its own housing boom. How much data will these giant, multibillion dollar new facilities hold? According to James Bamford of the New York Review of Books, the facility in Utah alone could hold data that will be measured in Yottabytes. Never heard of Yottabytes? You're not alone. Most computers sold at stores still measure their storage at gigabytes, or billions of bits of data. A few store a terrabyte of information, or one trillion bits of information. That's 1,000,000,000,000 pieces of information. Yottabytes is the highest number that has yet been named in computer information. The number is septillions of billions of bits of data, or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bits of data.

This begs the question...Just how many people are feeding at the public trough in order to actually do anything with all this data? Yes, there are programs running looking for key words and phrases and running some algorithms trying to link important stuff but it still takes a human to turn it into actionable intelligence. Been there, done that. Methinks this is just a big waste of time.

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