In an era of fiber optic cables, enabling data to travel up to speeds of 2/3rds the speed of light, and the continuous flow of information across the web puts mass amount of data right at the fingertips of the NSA. As we have already talked about, anonymity is practically impossible when attempting to live a convenient life. However, it wasn’t until 2013 with the release of the Snowden files did we realize that not only were we not anonymous, but in fact we were actually quite well known.
Using handy counter on The Guardian website and a stop watch, I calculated that the NSA collects, according to The Guardian, around 20 terrabytes of information per minute. Most of this data would be turned around and stored in the NSA’s new Utah Data Center which, according to Fox News, cost the taxpayers $1.7 billion to build. Forbes.com estimated that this site could hold up to 12 exabytes of information. To put that in perspective lets do a calculation:
1 exabyte= 1,000,000 terabytes
12 exabytes= 12,000,000 terabytes
@ 20 terabytes per minute (12,000,000/20)
The NSA could hold 600,000 minutes of data
600,000 @ 60 minutes per hour (600,000/60)
The NSA could hold 10,000 hours of data
10,000 hours @ 24 hours per day (10,000/24)
The NSA could hold over 416 days worth of data
The NSA could hold all the data they collect, which using the talked about dragnet and the “three hops” would be most of the data available, for over 416 days. After they filter through the data to determine threat levels of information and remove the information deemed non-threatening, they would have enough space to hold enough data on all terrorist SUSPECTS AND THEIR FIRST TWO HOPS OF FRIENDS for far greater than any of them will actually live. At a time where cyber attacks are a real threat to not only nation security, but also things like economic attacks, identity theft, and anti-western hacking groups, can we trust the government with out data? What right does the government have to bully corporations without warrants like Lavabit to give over users data? These are both questions that need to be answered and are finally being talked about thanks to Edward Snowden.
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