In 2010, then-Google CEO Eric Schmidt told attendees at the Techonomy conference in Lake Tahoe, Calif., that humanity was now creating as much information every two days as it did from the dawn of civilization up to 2003 --every 48 hours, 5 exabytes, or 5 quintillion bytes (5 followed by 18 zeros).
A stunning statistic? Even more stunning is the apparent fact the NSA intends to capture pretty much every one of those bytes every second of every day -- forever.
In a world in which several terabytes (1 TB = 1,000,000,000,000 bytes) can fit on a solid state drive (SSD) the size of a credit card, how else to explain the perceived need for the massive $2 billion NSA facility under construction in the shadow of Utah's Wasatch Range -- an edifice that "will be more than five times the size of the U.S. Capitol"?
No wonder the agency is facing what Hoover Institution fellows Amy Zegart and Marshall Erwin call "the worst crisis in its 60-year history."
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