back to article NSA spies recorded an entire COUNTRY'S phone calls for a MONTH: Report

The NSA is recording all of the voice calls in one unnamed country and keeping those recordings for 30 days at a time as part of a previously undisclosed rolling wiretap programme, according to leaks recently published in WSJ. Millions of voice "cuts" are extracted for long time storage as part of a system called MYSTIC that's …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Adrian 4 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Kept sectret from the public, or from the target government ?

    It's not clear from that article whether the calls were tapped with or without the target country's support.

    1. james 68

      Re: Kept sectret from the public, or from the target government ?

      Well if its the UK you can be guaranteed our lords and masters just bent over and said "sure... just ram it right on in there".

      Spineless bastards the lot of them.

      1. ravenviz
        Stop

        Re: Kept sectret from the public, or from the target government ?

        Be careful with making judgements on an assumption.

      2. James O'Brien
        Black Helicopters

        Re: james 68

        Don't forget the States as being one of those that is being recorded. Because we need to make sure big brother is keeping us safe.

        Helis because I'm pretty sure I hear them circling like Vultures right now.

      3. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: James 68 Re: Kept sectret from the public, or from the target government ?

        "....if its the UK....." Don't be silly, the UK is probably waaaay down the list. My bet would be on Pakistan as top choice, followed by Qatar, then Saudi, UAE, North Sudan, North Korea, maybe Cyprus (fave hangout for Russian mafia, arms dealers and exiled Palestinian and Lebanese "freedom fighters"), or even Switzerland (not a NATO partner and full of dodgy bank accounts) before we even get round to any large European countries.

        1. james 68

          Re: James 68 Kept sectret from the public, or from the target government ?

          I bet Angela Merkel thought Germany would be waaaaaaayyyyyyyyy down the list too.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: James 68 Kept sectret from the public, or from the target government ?

            "I bet Angela Merkel thought Germany would be waaaaaaayyyyyyyyy down the list too."

            Not forgetting that germany is the weak link of the eurozone. The eurozone lives or dies based on germany right now.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: James 68 Kept sectret from the public, or from the target government ?

              Doesn't that make them the STRONGEST link then? Apart from the Netherlands and Austria, it seems there are only weak links in this assembly. Certainly everything south from the Alps...

  2. Mystic Megabyte
    Joke

    Disc full

    I wondered why my cloud space is always full. Presumably the handle Mystic Zetabyte is already taken.

  3. Lionel Baden

    not the most important question

    But I wonder what format its stored in ?

    1. hplasm
      Happy

      Re: not the most important question

      .docx ?

    2. Charles Manning

      Most likely format...

      8k PCM, either raw or as a WAV file or ADPCM (.vox).

      These are what are used by computer telephony etc, so will be the most immediately available data.

      ADPCM is a bit lossy and introduces white noise. It takes half the space, but recording quality does down.

  4. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    "...in one unnamed country..."

    It didn't say in one foreign country, did it?

    1. Imsimil Berati-Lahn

      Re: "...in one unnamed country..."

      I wonder what it's like being a citizen of <NUL>.

      If you forget when your doctors appointment is, can you get the NSA to text you a reminder?

  5. James Boag

    re Lionel Baden

    Knowing the NSA it will be a WAV file lol

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: re Lionel Baden

      Every call recording system I've ever worked with have used WAVs, it's highly likely that they will be using off-the-shelf stuff, re-purposed and scaled up, so it is highly likely they'll be using WAV, but no lol.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: re Lionel Baden

        Every call recording system I've ever worked with have used WAVs

        Only for ease of use, plenty will do smaller MP3 and even better, many with do vox files, which are tiny.

        So long as they are not capturing DTMF tones, as they wouldn't want to fail any compliance laws would they?

    2. Tom7

      Re: re Lionel Baden

      Well, supposing the country is the UK, a quick Google search fetches up the number of 132 million phone calls made every day here. Suppose they all last for an average of 10 minutes (not everyone can match my mother's phone habits, after all), and it's stored as 8kHz 16-bit PCM (8kHz is what the POTS is designed to carry, being sufficient for human voice) then over 30 days you're collecting 1.32x10^8 x 10 x 60 x 8x10^3 x (16/2) x 30 = 1.52x10^14 bytes required to store it all for 30 days. 152TB. It's not peanuts, exactly, but surely the NSA can manage better than this?

      And before someone leaps in, yes, MP3 or Vorbis or whatever could reduce that a bit, but bear in mind that they work by throwing away frequencies that aren't interesting, and you've already thrown away 80% of the audible frequency range by encoding it as 8kHz PCM; you're not going to get the same compression ratios that you managed with your CD collection.

      1. Lionel Baden

        Re: re Lionel Baden

        @tom7 RE: 8khz

        I had actually thought it would of been a better quality and or possibly compressed into another format. that way if needed to they could analyze background data etc etc

        But i suppose that 150TB isn't much at all when your thinking about the volume.

        But then add on top of that replication etc etc maybe it does add up quite quickly.

        1. Charles Manning

          Re: re Lionel Baden

          "had actually thought it would of been a better quality "

          Since the phone signalling itself is 8kHz you can't be doing any better than that.

          They would be recording the digital stuff, straight off the T3 connections. They would not be storing analogue.

      2. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: re Lionel Baden

        >Suppose they all last for an average of 10 minutes

        Standard industry models are calls lasting 90-120 seconds. Obviously it varies a bit by country and pricing plan, too (Italians talk a lot IIRC, for example).

      3. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: re Lionel Baden

        I make it out, on the given assumptions as:

        132*10^6 calls/day,

        600 seconds/call,

        8000 samples/second,

        2 bytes/sample, and

        30 days/month

        so 1.32*10^8 * 6*10^2 * 8*10^3 * 2 * 3*10 = 3.8*10^16 bytes, which my calculators assure me is 34,560 TB, rather larger than the 152 TB given, but less than the 152 petabytes that the calculation shown actually gives. Still doable, though, with about 8600x4TB disks.

        The unnamed country probably is not the UK. I can think of a number of likely ones, none of them English speaking, European, or American (either North or South).

        1. Charles Manning

          Better numbers.

          Pick a smaller country. People like to do digital experiments on New Zealand : population 5M.

          Let's say everyone in NZ spends 5 minutes on the phone a day (10 sounds too much). Sampled at 8khz, 8 bits.

          That's 360TB. With half-decent compression -> 100TB.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Better numbers.

            That's 360TB. With half-decent compression -> 100TB.

            So uncle sam needed to light up multiple (like FOUR) 100Mb cables between his victim and back home without ANYONE there being a little bit suspicious? That must have cost a fortune.

            Seems likely the country has a complicit government to have helped out with the logistics and the financing. Pakistan?

      4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Boffin

        @Tom7

        "number of 132 million phone calls made every day here. Suppose they all last for an average of 10 minutes (not everyone can match my mother's phone habits, after all), and it's stored as 8kHz 16-bit PCM (8kHz is what the POTS is designed to carry, being sufficient for human voice) then over 30 days you're collecting 1.32x10^8 x 10 x 60 x 8x10^3 x (16/2) x 30 = 1.52x10^14 bytes required to store it all for 30 days. 152TB. It's not peanuts, exactly, but surely the NSA can manage better than this?"

        Phone CODECs are a bit different to the normal (linear) kind.

        They use a non linear sampling law (Merkins use a "mu" law, the rest of the world a different one). Basically that compresses 12 bits of dynamic range to 8.

        The question is do you have to expand this to linear forms to do analysis or can you keep it in the 8 bit format?

        For a worst case calculation, assume everyone in the UK is on the phone say 12 hours a day 365 days.

        It's a big number.

        But not big enough that the cost will deter the true data fetishist.

        1. 142

          Re: @Tom7

          Depending on the algorithm used, you can get intelligible speech at a data rate of 1kilo*bit* per second. Examples here: http://www.nine-9s.com/prod_speech_codec_comparisons.htm

          1. 142

            Re: @Tom7

            Following on to that, obviously you're not going to be doing CSI esque analysis of the audio after it's been degraded that much, but perhaps they view the speech part of the recordings as worth having even without detailed background noise. Important targets could be stored at a higher quality.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Go

      Re: re Lionel Baden

      Come on this is the good ole USA here - WMA

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Given My Call To The Tax office

    That's going to be one very big file of hold music.

  7. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Bet it's Belgium

    It's already public knowledge that its telecom backbone has been owned, it's a small enough country, and it's where policy for practically an entire continent is formed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bet it's Belgium

      Wow great idea.

      If the NSA did not do it yet, it should be very high on the To-Do list.

    2. Len Silver badge

      Re: Bet it's Belgium

      That would be a good hit. Home to the European Commission, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) and NATO among many other institutions of global importance.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bet it's Belgium

      Or France, ex-Pres Sarkozy has already used a phone registered under a false name to escape court-ordered wiretapping, perhaps the court called in the specialists.

      Anonymous because it's pure speculation.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Go

      Re: Bet it's Belgium

      Most certainly is Belgium. The NSA are after the recipe for Stella Artois as every Friday and Saturday night in the UK it turns mild mannered people into hooligans and thugs with no fear.

      They want to give it to the US army.

      1. Shades

        Re: Bet it's Belgium

        I realise you're only joking but Stella in the UK is actually produced in the UK and tastes like piss compared to the stuff that is brewed in Leuven, Belgium. I used to have my French ex bring me back some of the real deal, amongst other weird and wonderful brews, every time she went home to visit her parents.

  8. Anonymaus Cowark

    most likly countries

    Most likly countries would be some which have a limited infrastructure and which are high on the list of evil countries. Therefore China and UK would be ruled out. How about North Korea, Somalia or Ecuador?

    1. Evil Auditor Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re limited infrastructure and evil

      Depending on whom you ask, the UK would perfectly fulfil your two criteria.

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: most likly countries

      How about North Korea, Somalia or Ecuador?

      There are only three phones in North Korea, and two of those don't work.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: most likly countries

      That all depends on your definition of evil as well...

      If it's a test they would surely want to test it on a high stress target, so they could spot any flaws.

      Further though, if the Washington Post knows the country, what kind of journalism is it when you don't reveal it simply because your nation says so? Perhaps there is no actual story and it's simply a plant in order to make everyone else think the NSA have greater capacities than they really do?

  9. lglethal Silver badge
    Trollface

    Place your bets

    Step up one and all, place your bets:

    5/2 North Korea

    3/1 Afghanistan

    5/1 Somalia

    6/1 Iran

    10/1 Pakistan

    20/1 Cuba

    25/1 Russia

    100/1 USA

    250/1 Mexico

    1000/1 All of the EU

    1. Anonymaus Cowark

      Re: Place your bets

      The odds are way to good for cuba.

      Where may I place my bet?

    2. Perpetual Cyclist

      Re: Place your bets

      10/1 it is a nuclear armed Islamic country with a reputation for hosting terrorist training camps in ungovernable badlands, a widespread fundamentalist insurgency , strong cultural and economic links to one of the big five, and a local intelligence community who are as likely working for the opposition as the home team.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Place your bets

        "10/1 it is a nuclear armed Islamic country with a reputation for hosting terrorist training camps in ungovernable badlands, a widespread fundamentalist insurgency , strong cultural and economic links to one of the big five, and a local intelligence community who are as likely working for the opposition as the home team."

        London, then?

        1. Mephistro
          Coffee/keyboard

          Re: Place your bets (@ Ledswinger)

          "London, then?"

          See icon --------------->

    3. Salts

      Re: Place your bets

      You missed Yemen, though as Cable & Wireless had a 130+ year presence there that one is probably covered by GCHQ.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Place your bets

      Can I put a tenner on all of the above and everywhere else?

    5. Slacker@work

      Re: Place your bets

      Maybe they just did somewhere small as a proof of concept? The Vatican for example!

      Other likely spots...

      Rockall - highly contested land mass that's only ever been populated by extremists

      Colombia - war on drugs and all that..

      Israel - lets keep an eye on those crazies, they could kick off with any of their neighbours at any time...

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Place your bets

      I'd go with a small(ish) country that has a fast internet tube available like The Netherlands...

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Place your bets

      Well, Victoria Nuland (US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs), was recently recorded as saying, "...and you know, fuck the EU" - albeit on a different subject matter.

      My money is on an EU country.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Place your bets

      My bet is in entry nr 5, where can I deposit 10k USD?

  10. Don Jefe

    Threat Identification

    It can't be that hard to work out which countries threaten our 'security'. We're looking for a non-Christian, Socialist country that recognizes women's reproductive rights, supports higher education and health care among all segments of the population.

    Holy fucking shit! It's Canada! We've spent billions of dollars to capture the voice traffic of our neighbor, biggest trading partner and #1 supplier of sandpaper! This is a sad day indeed. I bet they won't sell us sandpaper anymore.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Threat Identification

      That's aboot right.

    2. Hollerith 1

      Re: Threat Identification

      Speaking as a Canadian, I feel that if you suck up our phone calls ("hello mum? Yeas, freezing cold here too..."), you must prepare for the Wrath of the Canucks, and face a future of unsmooth wood surfaces. Sandpaper embargo!!!!!!

      We will hear your screams. We will not care.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Threat Identification

        ...you must prepare for the Wrath of the Canucks, and face a future of unsmooth wood surfaces. Sandpaper embargo!!!!!!

        Do this and be prepared for a dirty, hit below the belt, ruthless war! We'll start by deporting Justin Bieber back to Canada! Before too long, those friendly little Canucks will be doing everything they can to make themselves deaf and blind! You'll never recover from that fallout MUHAHA!

      2. Stevie Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Sandpaper embargo

        Fair enough. No more Game of Thrones for the Canadians then. You'll *never* know if anyone survives or who gets to bonk the visually acceptable Cercei Lannister next.

        Bwa-ha-ha etc.

      3. JaitcH
        Thumb Up

        Re: Threat Identification - Robertson Headed Screws are the answer

        To frustrate Americans and ship stuff to the States in wooden containers, using Robertson Headed screws is really effective in winding them up.

        Robertson screwdrivers are extremely hard to find down there.

        Note: A Robertson, also known as a square screw drive has a square-shaped socket in the screw head and a square protrusion on the tool. Both the tool and the socket have a taper, which makes inserting the tool easier, and also tends to help keep the screw on the tool tip without the user needing to hold it there.

        When Henry Ford tried the Robertson screws he found they saved considerable time in Model T production, but when Robertson refused to license the screws to Ford, Ford realized that the supply of screws would not be guaranteed and chose to limit their use in production to Ford's Canadian division. Robertson's refusal to license his screws prevented their widespread adoption in the United States!

        1. Matt Piechota

          Re: Threat Identification - Robertson Headed Screws are the answer

          "Note: A Robertson, also known as a square screw drive has a square-shaped socket in the screw head and a square protrusion on the tool. Both the tool and the socket have a taper, which makes inserting the tool easier, and also tends to help keep the screw on the tool tip without the user needing to hold it there."

          I'm not sure if it's genuine Robertson, but a few of those screwdriver tip sets I have aboot the house have square-drive sizes, along with a few tips I've not seen before. Never seen a Robertson head on any item I own though, that seems to be taken over by Torx.

        2. Don Jefe

          Re: Threat Identification - Robertson Headed Screws are the answer

          Here in the US, Robertson drive fasteners are also referred to as 'clutch head screws' and 'trailer screws', because their biggest use is in mobile homes where the 'drywall' is held in with plastic cames screwed to the studs. The heads of the screws are exposed to the room and the whole effect creates a very riveting (Ha!) appearance.

          If you're into that kind of thing, there is a fantastic book called 'One Good Turn' (forget the author). It's a small book, but full of big examples of the history of threaded fasteners. The book is available, cheap, on Amazon.

          Ford is indeed responsible for the 'intersecting drive' (Phillips and similar). As I suppose you may already know, but Ford wanted to make the fasteners internally, not buy them from the manufacturer (Robinson). Robertson was concerned that if he licensed the manufacture of the screws that Ford would not only steal the design via legal shenanigans, but be able to produce them at a much lower cost as well. Those are very valid concerns, even with today's technologies.

          An upshot in the way all that went down is that Ford's tooling staff would go on create and refine a lot of fastener attributes still used today as well as perfect the high volume, high tolerance manufacturing techniques that, quite literally, hold the modern world together.

        3. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: Threat Identification - Robertson Headed Screws are the answer

          "Robertson screwdrivers are extremely hard to find down there.>"

          $3.97 from Amazon dotcom.

          So, what's your next evil plan, Professor Fail McFailyfail?

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Joke

        Re: Threat Identification

        @ Hollerith 1

        Maybe you crafty Canucks can start inserting random, unprocessed splinters into your exports of TP across the border.

        And potash!! "Do our bidding, America! Or the begonias get it!!"

        (Starts whistling "Blame Canada!")

    3. Michael Thibault

      Re: Threat Identification

      You're right, it's Canuckistan. But the expenditure is surely exaggerated by several orders of magnitude--it's a big country with a small population, after all.

    4. JaitcH
      Happy

      Re: Threat Identification - Canada?

      Bad choice, Canada. We talk our heads off and have conversations almost morning to night.

      Back in the day, I was a communications contractor for Maritime Tel and Tel in St. John's, New Brunswick, and Mondays were the best. We would put the testers headset up on the switching centre public address then we would touch the line-side jacks to the field of sockets until we happened upon a juicy conversation.

      The best were when two females were discussing their weekend seductions - real laugh.

      In the large centres such as Halifax or Moncton we would tap into the operator headsets in the off chance they were comparing notes with fellow operators.

      Unfortunately, large automatic switches were introduced which started eliminating many operators. What a pity.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Threat Identification - Canada?

        "Bad choice, Canada. We talk our heads off and have conversations almost morning to night."

        Not if your staying in the Holiday Inn, Ottawa and using some flavour of VoIP, you're not - you can't get much past "Can you hear me!" before the WiFi drops out again, and again, and again. Or perhaps the NSA were uploading in the room next door.

        Maybe burning down the White House isn't quite as forgiven as you'd thought.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Threat Identification - Canada....Lets make a Deal.

      How about a trade?

      The USA takes Quebec and Canada gets Obama?

  11. Tachikoma

    An NSA spokeman said the claims were ludicrous and untrue, but requested the paper not to say which country they aren't doing it to

  12. Scott Broukell

    It's ok

    "Your calls may be recorded for training porpoises."

  13. ForthIsNotDead

    Quick...

    ...let's all 'phone the speaking clock and leave the 'phone off the hook! That'll teach 'em!

  14. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    That should keep them busy and out of my calls to my mum for a bit.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    captured massive data flows “without the use of discriminants,”

    Oops, that's Obama caught telling porkies.

    and "last year’s secret intelligence budget named five more countries for which the MYSTIC program provides “comprehensive metadata access and content,” with a sixth expected to be in place by ... October (2013)"

    Here we come - all the worlds telephone content recorded for ever!

    Geeks were starting to worry about our internet era being lost to the archeology of future civilisations - obviously the NSA Utah is just rather enthusiastically following on the work of Sir Flinders Petrie, it's not like knowing everything about everyone could ever be used for harm - it's just 'truth.'

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: captured massive data flows “without the use of discriminants,”

      So, do you reckon Obama knew that they'd been up to stuff like this, and chose to lie (hoping that it wouldn't be revealed), or that he was told by the spies "nah prez, course we wouldn't do that", and thought he was telling the truth?

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: captured massive data flows “without the use of discriminants,”

        I cant imagine in this day and age (especially after the first lot of NSA data breaches was revelaed) that he would have made such a definitiev statement if he knew it was bollocks. He would have used weasel words, and specially formulated statements that said something without ever denying the possibility of anything.

        This sounds to me like he said what he thought was the truth, and which now turns out not to be. Mind you I could be wrong, and when he said those sorts of things what he meant was that they dont do it to USAians. Since Yanks dont usually consider the other inhabitants of the world to be people I wouldnt be surprised by that turn of events...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's funny

    The technically clueless act as if this is a bad thing.

  17. BongoJoe

    It'll be the UK. The US have been listening to all our non-local calls for decades so it wouldn't surprise me if they've ramped this up to include all calls.

    All, of course, at the behest of the lads and lasses in Cheltenhaqm.

  18. Evan Essence

    I'm sure James Clapper will explain everything, then we can all quit worrying.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NSA recording your thoughts too!

    People,

    I live in the USA and we ARE recording everything you say on all your phones. The British Intelligence people are recording everything WE say.

    Unfortunately, that makes all this shit LEGAL. If our own people were to record our own phone calls, it would be illegal.

    OOooopps, too late. Black helicopters are coming.........

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Considering the Orwellian police state tactics practiced by the US such as torture, indefinite detainment without trial, and spying on everyone (Gitmo, NSA, CIA, etc) the condemnation of Russia and Crimea seems laughable

  21. Rob Burke

    I hope It's Germany!

    The furious response would surely be a catalyst for change.

    Of course it could be pretty entertaining at the same time. Please let it be Germany!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you have nothing to hide ...

    ... then you will not mind if we store all information about your life and everyone else in your country. Just in case we need it in the future to see what happened in the past. We won't look at it (looking at it in NSA jargon means that they have collected it, a human not looking at it means that it was not collected). Spy language is tricky stuff to get your head around.

    So storing data about everyone in a country is legal in the US, and because the US are the world police it is legal everywhere else as well. America (and GCHQ in the UK) own the planet. Trust them they know what they are doing, and they have guns :)

  23. Zog_but_not_the_first
    Big Brother

    Spytify?

    Look at the upside. Playlists. Discover. People who enjoyed listening to "Shifty Smithy" also enjoyed....

  24. Chris G Silver badge

    I have nothing to hide

    Well, not anymore.....

    Interesting though that they chose Utah, not too far from one of the other biggest stashes of information on the human race which is bunkered in a mountain owned by the Mormon church. Maybe the Mormons have done some successful door knocking in Fort Meade.

  25. Sanctimonious Prick

    Stored In The Cloud

    Seriously?

    Looking forward to see what happens to that!!

  26. Schultz Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Orwellian

    So the NSA doesn't do intrusive spying, they are just looking for the terrorists. And the people who are in contact with terrorists. And the people who live in the same house, city, country, or world as those terrorists. But it's OK, because they only collect metadata. And all your emails, telephone calls, and video. In public, private and, in particular, if you try to turn off your computer/smartphone microphone or camera.

    Now why they can't catch any terrorist when they already subverted all of humanity is a bit of a mystery? Clearly time for some 'enhanced' data collection to fix that. Everybody please make an appointment with your local secret service office and don't forget your bathing suit and towel. And remember, you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide. Nobody innocent was ever harmed by a few questions and only guilty witches ever drown when submerged.

  27. Down not across Silver badge

    Still constrained by the bandwitdth

    "Handling and transmitting bulky voice files acted as a major snag in putting together MYSTIC, at least in its early days. Around a year after MYSTIC went live, a programme officer wrote that the project "has long since reached the point where it was collecting and sending home far more than the bandwidth could handle," the Washington Post reports.

    Similar capacity ceilings have cropped up across a range of NSA collection programs, a factor that explains the spy agency's move to cloud-based collection systems and the construction of a massive “mission data repository” at a new facility in Utah, the Washington Post adds."

    So, assuming "mission data repository" is final destination, all data still needs to end up in one place. In that case any cloudiness is not likely to help at all since ultimately all that data (and in case of voice calls unlikely to compress that much) still needs the network bandwidth to the repository.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    keeping us safe

    They record the entire world's facebook and gmail, watch lovers doing rude things on yahoo chat and even monitor your angry birds activity. And they have spooks running round WoW looking for 'terrists' too.

    But an airliner full of 250 people can vanish and 12 days later still be missing.

    It's good to see they have their priorities straight after 911.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021