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NSA to store yottabytes of surveillance data in Utah megarepository
Crunchgear ^ | November 1. 2009 | by Devin Coldewey

Posted on 11/01/2009 7:06:31 PM PST by Jet Jaguar

There’s an interesting article in the current New York Review of books (predictably, a book review) detailing the history of the National Security Agency, that shadowy power-behind-the-power to which we surrender much of our privacy. That in itself is interesting, but I found the introduction a bit shocking: the NSA is constructing a datacenter in the Utah desert that they project will be storing yottabytes of surveillance data. And what is a yottabyte? I’m glad you asked.

There are a thousand gigabytes in a terabyte, a thousand terabytes in a petabyte, a thousand petabytes in an exabyte, a thousand exabytes in a zettabyte, and a thousand zettabytes in a yottabyte. In other words, a yottabyte is 1,000,000,000,000,000GB. Are you paranoid yet?

The more salient question is, of course, what are they storing that, by some estimates, is going take up thousands of times more space than all the world’s known computers combined? Don’t think they’re going to say; they didn’t grow to their current level of shadowy omniscience by disclosing things like that to the public. However, speculation isn’t too hard on this topic. Now more than ever, surveillance is a data game. What with millions of phones being tapped and all data duplicated, constant recording of all radio traffic, 24-hour high definition video surveillance by satellite, there’s terabytes at least of data coming in every day. And who knows when you’ll have to sift through August 2007’s overhead footage of Baghdad for heat signatures in order to confirm some other intelligence?

The article mentions that the NSA’s equivalent in the UK, the Government Communications Headquarters, asked that all telecoms providers store and hand over a huge amount of customer data for an entire year. They refused, citing “grave misgivings” and noting that at any rate the level of data collection expected was “impossible in principle.” Tut tut! Those Brits lacked the American can-do spirit. Thus it was that AT&T and other telecoms instantly complied with US mandates following September 11. The extent of the government’s meddling with switches, routers, antennas, and so on may never be fully known, but I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone reading this article isn’t on the record somewhere. Storage capacity of this magnitude implies a truly unprecedented amount of subjects for monitoring.

There is talk of the NSA shutting down altogether or being rolled into another agency, but I suspect that the “too big to fail” idea, as well as the “our safety is worth any price” dogma, will prevent that eventuality. It’s more reasonable to ask when or if its expansion will cease being sustainable. These datacenters, and the yottabytes they will hold, are extremely expensive as well as practically having bulls-eyes painted on them to the enemy (whoever he is) — though at under $10bn the NSA’s budget is a footnote compared to other programs and agencies. So is the increasingly (to use a semi-word that is only rarely usable) tentacular NSA a necessary evil of the digital age, or a cancerous money sink born from the colossal intelligence competition of the Cold War?

The answer will only be visible in retrospect years from now, perhaps when a sequel to the book being reviewed (The Secret Sentry: The Untold History of the National Security Agency, by Matthew M. Aid) is released covering the heavily-redacted records of the early 2000s. In the meantime, it’s probably best to assume that the walls have ears.


TOPICS: Government; Reference
KEYWORDS: bigbrother; internetsnooping; napl; nsa; privacyrights
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1 posted on 11/01/2009 7:06:31 PM PST by Jet Jaguar
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To: ShadowAce

Ping


2 posted on 11/01/2009 7:07:11 PM PST by Jet Jaguar (A mob of one.)
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To: Jet Jaguar

feeling ok with this.

finding me in that haystack would be near impossible


3 posted on 11/01/2009 7:09:09 PM PST by sten
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To: Jet Jaguar

Wonder how much of it will be porn :-)


4 posted on 11/01/2009 7:11:25 PM PST by UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide (IN A SMALL TENT WE JUST STAND CLOSER! * IT'S ISLAM, STUPID! - Islam Delenda Est! - Rumble thee forth)
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To: sten

found you


5 posted on 11/01/2009 7:12:29 PM PST by UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide (IN A SMALL TENT WE JUST STAND CLOSER! * IT'S ISLAM, STUPID! - Islam Delenda Est! - Rumble thee forth)
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To: Jet Jaguar

6 posted on 11/01/2009 7:16:39 PM PST by HangnJudge
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To: Jet Jaguar
There are a thousand gigabytes in a terabyte, a thousand terabytes in a petabyte, a thousand petabytes in an exabyte, a thousand exabytes in a zettabyte, and a thousand zettabytes in a yottabyte.

Ping for later

"That's what search engines are built for"

7 posted on 11/01/2009 7:17:58 PM PST by Alex Murphy ("Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him" - Job 13:15)
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To: Jet Jaguar

YottaDollar dollar bailout —the new million..!!


8 posted on 11/01/2009 7:19:38 PM PST by gaijin
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To: Jet Jaguar

>There are a thousand gigabytes in a terabyte, a thousand terabytes in a petabyte, a thousand petabytes in an exabyte, a thousand exabytes in a zettabyte, and a thousand zettabytes in a yottabyte. In other words, a yottabyte is 1,000,000,000,000,000GB. Are you paranoid yet?

Actually that number is wrong, replace “a thousand” in the above with “one thousand twenty four” and the multiplication is correct. (IE computer storage is measured in 2^n units, not 10^n... don’t let them shortchange you.)


9 posted on 11/01/2009 7:21:28 PM PST by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: Jet Jaguar

One yottabyte would be more than 150 Terabytes for every person on Earth.


10 posted on 11/01/2009 7:31:41 PM PST by xjcsa (And these three remain: change, hope and government. But the greatest of these is government.)
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To: UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide

That wasn’t me... it was him


11 posted on 11/01/2009 7:34:07 PM PST by sten
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To: UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide

Porn, spam, porn spam, wrong numbers, telemarketing calls, old people talking about what they had to eat that day, stupid blogs and twitter messages of no substance...

Yes God Bless them. Fill up the volumes! Keep American storage media makers working!


12 posted on 11/01/2009 7:38:34 PM PST by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: Jet Jaguar

Skynet


13 posted on 11/01/2009 7:39:52 PM PST by ClearCase_guy (Play the Race Card -- lose the game.)
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To: Jet Jaguar
....and with all this storage, how does the White Crib make certain stories disappear at will?
14 posted on 11/01/2009 7:50:11 PM PST by SERKIT ("Blazing Saddles" explains it all.....)
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To: Jet Jaguar

Hmmm ... another ‘wayback’ machine ...


15 posted on 11/01/2009 7:55:27 PM PST by _Jim (Conspiracy theories are the tools of the weak-minded.)
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To: Jet Jaguar

Is this pronounced “Yoda bites?”

Just askin’


16 posted on 11/01/2009 7:58:30 PM PST by MrEdd (Heck? Geewhiz Cripes, thats the place where people who don't believe in Gosh think they aint going.)
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To: Jet Jaguar

Somehow, this has to be part of an evil Romney conspiracy. (/HHOK)


17 posted on 11/01/2009 7:58:30 PM PST by dangus (Nah, I'm not really Jim Thompson, but I play him on FR.)
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To: Jet Jaguar
All the porn every released on the web...?/sarc>

Cheers!

18 posted on 11/01/2009 8:09:48 PM PST by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: xjcsa
One yottabyte would be more than 150 Terabytes for every person on Earth.

Cool. You think they'll make backups of our digital lives possible? Crash your HDD, be dumb enough to not have a backup (I just finished one), contact the NSA and get an image of your drive... :-) I mean, I think I only have 1 TB in my entire house on all my drives combined...

19 posted on 11/01/2009 8:27:59 PM PST by ThunderSleeps (obama out now! I'll keep my money, my guns, and my freedom - you can keep the change.)
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To: Jet Jaguar

I am sure CHINA will have direct access.


20 posted on 11/01/2009 9:05:35 PM PST by Dogbert41
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To: Jet Jaguar
And what is a yottabyte?

Difficult to say, it is.

One thousand gigabytes in a terabyte there are, terabytes in a petabyte a thousand, petabytes in an exabyte a thousand, exabytes in a zettabyte a thousand, and zettabytes in a yottabyte a thousand there are.


21 posted on 11/01/2009 9:20:03 PM PST by TLI ( ITINERIS IMPENDEO VALHALLA)
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To: rdb3; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; GodGunsandGuts; CyberCowboy777; Salo; Bobsat; JosephW; ...

22 posted on 11/02/2009 5:11:33 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: Jet Jaguar
"yottabytes"

That's a lotta bytes (said in Groucho Marx voice)

23 posted on 11/02/2009 5:15:46 AM PST by raybbr (It's going to get a lot worse now that the anchor babies are voting!)
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To: Jet Jaguar
"Yoda bites not, young Jedi."


24 posted on 11/02/2009 5:18:20 AM PST by paulycy (Predatory Pricing = Public Option = Unethical Competition.)
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To: gaijin

Yottadollar bills are already being printed in Zimbabwe.


25 posted on 11/02/2009 5:24:25 AM PST by Fresh Wind ("Prosperity is just around the corner." Herbert Hoover, 1932)
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To: TLI
And what is a yottabyte?

Something begging for some serious worms.
26 posted on 11/02/2009 5:33:13 AM PST by aruanan
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To: Jet Jaguar

I feel sorry for the poor SOB who has to read all that.


27 posted on 11/02/2009 5:34:18 AM PST by Tribune7 (I am Joe Wilson!)
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To: OneWingedShark
Sorry, no. While RAM storage uses 1024 (2^10) as its multiplier, disk storage has always used 1000 (10^3). So a GB really is 1000MB of disk space, not 1024MB as would be the case for RAM.

To make things even more confusing there are now standard prefixes to make the distinction. See the Wikipedia entry for Yottabyte for details.

28 posted on 11/02/2009 5:43:34 AM PST by AustinBill (consequence is what makes our choices real)
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To: UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide

“Wonder how much of it will be porn :-)”

Enough to distract them from you, and perhaps slings and arrows.


29 posted on 11/02/2009 5:58:16 AM PST by Freedom2specul8 (I am Jim Thompson............................Please pray for our troops....)
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To: Slings and Arrows

I did ping you at #29, but your name disappeared. Spooky!


30 posted on 11/02/2009 8:27:53 AM PST by Freedom2specul8 (I am Jim Thompson............................Please pray for our troops....)
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To: Jet Jaguar

...and the left went loony when Cheney listened to a phone call.


31 posted on 11/02/2009 8:34:53 AM PST by IamConservative (I'll keep my money. You keep the change.)
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To: ~Kim4VRWC's~; MeekOneGOP; Conspiracy Guy; DocRock; King Prout; Darksheare; OSHA; martin_fierro; ...
At least 90% of it will be cute cat pix, 419 scam emails, and pr0n.


32 posted on 11/02/2009 8:52:38 AM PST by Slings and Arrows ("When France chides you for appeasement, you know you're scraping bottom." --Charles Krauthammer)
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To: Jet Jaguar
I wonder how long it will be before Microsoft needs more. Also can you imagine the time it would take to back that sucker up? (Carbonite out of the question?)

What is next? One wiki has Bronto, and Geo after Yotta, and one site says numbers larger then that have not been defined yet. Heck, I thought this 2Tb usb drive on my desk was more then I would ever need.

33 posted on 11/02/2009 9:00:55 AM PST by DYngbld (I have read the back of the Book and we WIN!!!!)
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To: Jet Jaguar
1,000,000,000,000,000GB

That's a lot of pr0n.
34 posted on 11/02/2009 9:03:15 AM PST by BJClinton (Any "healthcare reform" without tort reform is a fraud.)
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To: Slings and Arrows

And Channer jokes..


35 posted on 11/02/2009 9:05:23 AM PST by Darksheare (Tar is cheap, and feathers are plentiful.)
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To: Jet Jaguar

Every storage device in the world combined isn’t even storing one zettabyte yet.


36 posted on 11/02/2009 9:48:51 AM PST by antiRepublicrat
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To: Darksheare

DESU!


37 posted on 11/02/2009 10:11:54 AM PST by Slings and Arrows ("When France chides you for appeasement, you know you're scraping bottom." --Charles Krauthammer)
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To: xjcsa

Another perspective: That’s 500,000,000,000 2-terabyte hard drives, costing $90 trilllion retail, and weighing 407,000,000 tons.


38 posted on 11/02/2009 10:22:57 AM PST by antiRepublicrat
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To: Slings and Arrows

Bowman: “My God, It’s full of Lolcats!”


39 posted on 11/02/2009 10:47:35 AM PST by Darksheare (Tar is cheap, and feathers are plentiful.)
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To: Darksheare

Has anyone consulted the Sandwich Chef?


40 posted on 11/02/2009 10:54:11 AM PST by Slings and Arrows ("When France chides you for appeasement, you know you're scraping bottom." --Charles Krauthammer)
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To: Jet Jaguar

A great deal of data, that is. The old IT axiom “garbage in, garbage out” modified must be. All “garbage in” now it is.


41 posted on 11/02/2009 10:56:19 AM PST by Billthedrill
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To: Jet Jaguar
What OS can access that much information?
Even assuming 2TB hard drives, that is a lot of RAID arrays. The electric and cooling requirements will be enormous.
42 posted on 11/02/2009 11:01:03 AM PST by rmlew (Democracy tends to ignore..., threats to its existence because it loathes doing what is needed)
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To: Slings and Arrows

No, but I hear tell that Rage Boy is infesting sites out there.


43 posted on 11/02/2009 11:07:12 AM PST by Darksheare (Tar is cheap, and feathers are plentiful.)
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To: rmlew

“Warp Core Breach in two minutes!”


44 posted on 11/02/2009 11:08:08 AM PST by Darksheare (Tar is cheap, and feathers are plentiful.)
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To: AustinBill

>While RAM storage uses 1024 (2^10) as its multiplier, disk storage has always used 1000 (10^3).

Wrong[; you have an ALWAYS qualifier there]. The 5.25 & 3.5 inch floppy’s MBs ARE/WERE measured in 1024 units of 1024-byte kilo-bytes.
See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floppy_disk

Further proof of this can be seen in the 512-byte boot-sector sizes on not only these media, but on hard-drives as well.

As is known in logic always (and for-all) need show only one instance where the claim does not hold in order to prove the entire claim untrue.


45 posted on 11/02/2009 1:03:48 PM PST by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: AustinBill

>While RAM storage uses 1024 (2^10) as its multiplier, disk storage has always used 1000 (10^3).

Wrong[; you have an ALWAYS qualifier there]. The 5.25 & 3.5 inch floppy’s MBs ARE/WERE measured in 1024 units of 1024-byte kilo-bytes.
See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floppy_disk

Further proof of this can be seen in the 512-byte boot-sector sizes on not only these media, but on hard-drives as well.

As is known in logic always (and for-all) need show only one instance where the claim does not hold in order to prove the entire claim untrue.


46 posted on 11/02/2009 1:03:52 PM PST by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: Jet Jaguar

We just grew our capacity to something north of 800 Petabytes (this is both spinning disk AND tape storage combined)....

I can’t imagine what a Yottabyte looks like right now. We aren’t even at a Exabyte yet ;)


47 posted on 11/02/2009 4:57:17 PM PST by MikefromOhio (Fides et Audax)
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To: Dogbert41
I am sure CHINA will have direct access.

If this is anything like what I think it is, the only way the chinese will have access to it is if they break into the mountain.
48 posted on 11/02/2009 4:58:56 PM PST by MikefromOhio (Fides et Audax)
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To: MrEdd

Kick your ass I will.


49 posted on 11/02/2009 5:51:29 PM PST by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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To: Darksheare
Bowman: “My God, It’s full of Lolcats!”

I can has lotz n lotz uv storage?

50 posted on 11/02/2009 5:54:06 PM PST by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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