Cost to Store All US Phonecalls Made in a Year in Cloud Storage so it could be Datamined

Brewster Kahle:

Because of recent news reports, I wanted to cross check the cost feasibility of the NSA's recording all of the US phonecalls and processing them.

These estimates show only $27M in capital cost, and $2M in electricity and take less than 5,000 square feet of space to store and process all US phonecalls made in a year. The NSA seems to be spending $1.7 billion on a 100k square foot datacenter that could easily handle this and much much more. Therefore, money and technology would not hold back such a project -- it would be held back if someone did not have the opportunity or will.

Another study concluded about 4x my data estimates others have suggested the data could be compressed 10:1, and the power bill would be lower in Utah.

Previously, previously, previously.

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9 Responses:

  1. nooj says:

    I'd like to see someone add a personnel cost estimate. NSA does more than just store and process the data.

  2. Stephen Harris says:

    You'll also want text recognition on top (you'll need to keep original data files plus processed results in case processing improves and original data can be reprocessed). Plus indexes on that textual data. Plus search tools.

    Data at rest is cheap; data being used is more expensive. But I doubt we're even talking an order of magnitude difference.

  3. J. Peterson says:

    So, if I have a dispute with somebody involving what was said in a phone call, can I subpoena the NSA's recording of it?

    • jwz says:

      Already happening.

      The prosecution had told defense attorneys that they were unable to obtain Brown's cellphone records from the period before September 2010 because his carrier, MetroPCS, had not held on to them.

      Not so fast, Brown's attorney Marshall Dore Louis argued in court documents filed in Fort Lauderdale days after the National Security Agency surveillance program was revealed last week.

      Louis argued in court Wednesday that the government should be forced to turn over phone location records for two cellphones Brown may have used because it could prove he was not present for one of the attempted bank robberies, on July 26 on Federal Highway in Lighthouse Point.

  4. jwb says:

    The "100k sq ft" facility only has 10k sq ft of datacenter, and 90k sq ft of offices other crap.

    • jwb says:

      Alternate explanation: I'm an idiot, and it is 100k of datacenter and 900k of overhead.

  5. James says:

    I'm waiting for google to announce "phone search" - Google images, but with phone calls.

    • nooj says:

      If they thought anyone would pay as much as the government does for the service, I'm sure they would oblige.