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This is the TBTF Log, the place where I report important breaking news
in the most timely way possible.
this Web log.
using this permanent URL.
weeks' logs table of contents.
An Echelon BOTEC.
Ever wondered how much of the world's telecommunications traffic
Echelon is capable of harvesting? Fans of the back-of-the-envelope
calculation are ever on the lookout for obscure numerical facts and
rules of thumb to rub together. Today's
Post article on the overhaul of the NSA dropped this nugget:
[NSA's] collections systems scoop up enough data every three hours to
fill the Library of Congress.
Three years ago the Morrisons estimated the Library's holdings (excluding
movies) at 20 terabytes -- see
The Sum of
Human Knowledge? in the July 1998 Scientific American. From that
same rich article we learn that speech telephony, worldwide, amounts to a
few exabytes per year (i.e., a few million terabytes).
So if the NSA is capable of intercepting and storing 6.6 terabytes per hour,
what fraction of the world's real-time telephony is that?
About one part in five.
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