Imagine building the biggest private cloud from scratch. Start with a $2 billion budget, 25,000 square feet of server rooms, 900,000 square feet of office space, a dedicated electrical substation, and a cutting-edge security system all located in remote Utah. The initial data capacity for this facility will be measured in yottabytes (a quadrillion gigabytes), but by the time the facility opens it will undoubtedly accommodate even more data (although currently there is no term for the next order of magnitude of data). Who would need to store this much data? None other than the National Security Agency (NSA) - the U.S. organization dedicated to electronic eavesdropping on the entire world. With the deployment of this facility, remote sensor substations, direct connections to all the backbone cable connections of the Internet, and software called Narus (developed by Boeing) the NSA can (in real-time) route any call or electronic communication and dump it into a database for analysis. The objective is to be able to intercept, store and analyze 20 terabytes of data per minute looking for potential threats. Data encryption is not an issue, because the NSA is building super-computers that will brute-force the encryption to unlock it. On one hand, this is one of the most magnificent technological achievements, applying the latest and greatest techniques in big data, cloud computing, and data mining. On the other hand, it may be the scariest invasion of individual privacy the world has ever seen.
Be warned, reading this article may lead to increased paranoia and anxiety.
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