Guess what? NSA monitors 1.6 percent of all the world’s Internet traffic


On its mission to collect data and spy on… everyone… the NSA monitors around 1.6 percent of the world’s Internet traffic per day. This information came from documents the Obama administration released to showcase the range of the NSA’s data gathering and observing program.

Of all the 1.6 percent Internet traffic monitored by the NSA, 0,025 percent is actually reviewed by NSA personnel.

Here’s a little snippet from the document:

According to figures published by a major tech provider, the Internet carries 1,826 Petabytes of information per day. In its foreign intelligence mission, NSA touches about 1.6% of that. However, of the 1.6% of the data, only 0.025% is actually selected for review. The net effect is that NSA analysts look at 0.00004% of the world’s traffic in conducting their mission— that’s less than one part in a million. Put another way, if a standard basketball court represented the global communications environment, NSA’s total collection would be represented by an area smaller than a dime on that basketball court.

The document also claims the NSA does not spy on normal people, but after everything that has happened, how can citizens believe anything the Government has to say at this point. It’s a tough sell, and will take years before American citizens and the world find such actions by the NSA as normal.

Furthermore, we understand that these collections of data have allowed the authorities to stop a bomb plot in 2009 that targeted a New York subway system. So yes, this collection data and monitoring thing truly does some good, however; it wouldn’t have been this bad if the NSA wasn’t spying on American and foreign citizens as if they are a part of a terrorist cell.

[via NSA]

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  1. Netpilot

    [@Darcy] On the face of it, the concept of what you described is unnerving.

    [@Mikerman] On one level, I agree with you that it is interesting and impressive. I also don’t have an issue with an authority following up on something posted by someone on a watch list.

    What does concern me, is that through no action of his own, there is probably now a permanent record of an innocent American citizen (the cousin) in the NSA’s database, linked to a person on the watch list, even if the cousin was vetted as ‘cleared’.

    Who knows how much or how accurate the information stored on the innocent cousin is? Like the credit reporting companies (who have errors in roughly 20% of the reports of people on whom they have records), the NSA has no incentive (let alone guidelines) to keep accurate data.

    For the record, I’m not paranoid, nor am I particularly worried about any data they could possibly gather on my rather boring (for their purposes) life. It’s the accuracy and quality of the data, and how it could be interpreted later that concerns me. The McCarthy Era wasn’t that long ago. I hope society has evolved enough to apply some serious critical thinking to the way we do things 75 years later.

  2. Mikerman

    [@Eva] This, too, greatly concerns me. In all the conversations, the emphasis is on how American citizens’ communications are protected and not being spied upon willy-nilly. But what about our friends in other countries–if I don’t want the NSA spying on me, I likewise don’t want it spying on you–unless you are trying to do something unlawful to me.

  3. Mikerman

    [@Darcy] Interestingly, I have no issue with this and even find it rather impressive, as long as the inquiry was done professionally and respectfully. No different than someone posting a picture of a party at one’s workplace and a suspected thief posting a comment about how he would like to know more about the business–I’d have no problem with the local police contacting me and asking me about the posting and person.

  4. Darcy

    Just yesterday a friend of mine was talking about his cousin. He took a picture of Air Force One landing in Chattanooga for the President’s visit and posted it on his website. Apparently somebody who is on the watch list posted a comment on the website and the NSA called the cousin. Elapsed time from posting to receiving the call? Twenty minutes.

  5. Eva

    “it wouldn’t have been this bad if the NSA wasn’t spying on American citizens as if they are a part of a terrorist cell.”

    Or on other countries that are supposedly allies, but are classed as if they were enemies, and have data protection laws that wouldn’t allow their own governments to do what the US is doing to their citizens. While I realise that the “default internet user” on tech sites is usually considered to by American, US citizens are not the only ones affected by this, but they have even less influence on the process than US ones.