How much space would the filing cabinets of the Stasi and the NSA use up, if the NSA would print out their 5 Zettabytes?
The German President, Joachim Gauck, concluded in an interview with the ZDF on 30.6.2013, that the NSA was not to be compared with the Stasi:
We know for example, that it is not like it was with the Stasi and the KGB – that there exist big filing cabinets in which all the content of our conversations are written down and nicely filed. This is not the case.Wir wissen zum Beispiel, dass es nicht so ist wie bei der Stasi und dem KGB, dass es dicke Aktenbände gibt, in denen unsere Gesprächsinhalte alle aufgeschrieben und schön abgeheftet sind. Das ist es nicht.
This statement is completely correct. At the NSA, conversation contents are not written down nor filed - but digitally recorded, saved and can be searched and found within seconds.
In contrast to the Stasi, the NSA can count on new technologies and can therefore collect information in gigantic quantities. To get the picture, we compared the data volume in this little app:
According to a report by the NPR, the data center of the NSA in Utah will be capable of saving 5 Zettabytes (5 billion Terabyte). Assuming that a filing cabinet with 60 files (30.000 pages of paper) uses up 0,4 m², which would correspond to 120 MB of data, the printed out Utah data center would use up 17 million square kilometers. Thereby the NSA can capture 1 billion times more data than the Stasi!
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