National Security Agency is the geekiest of the spy shops. The NSA is responsible for gathering and parsing information from around the world, usually electronic data. At ReadWriteWeb, we're no strangers to big data, in fact we're fans. But sometimes you come face to face with facts and figures that bring home how big "big" is.The
According to an article from the Baltimore Sun, in six hours, the NSA intercepts and stores as much information as you find in the whole of the Library of Congress.
The RAND Corporation the Sun wrote, "(He) said the rule of thumb has been that every six hours, NSA collects an amount of information equivalent to the store of knowledge housed at the Library of Congress."Speaking of John Parachini, Director of the Intelligence Policy Center at
That's in six hours. Every day they wind up with four times that amount. The information that is collected includes video from drone overflights, emails, conversations captured by electronic means, texts and intercepted mobile phone conversations, like the one that led to the location of Osama bin Laden.
Whether the NSA should do what it does, whether or not we gather too much and contextualize too little, how sharp the organization's code-breaking skills are or are not, whether their 30,000 employees and billion-dollar budget are worth it: all these are interesting and important issues.
But I just wanted to share an example of how much data we wrestle with as a society, an example that you can - just barely - get your head around. Every six hours one of our spy agencies gathers as much information as our most complete repository of literature contains. It is a mind-boggling amount of information, even in an age of big data.
Other sources: Popsci