NSA Blanket Data Collection Preventing Accurate Surveillance
June 4, 2015
The article on ZDNet titled NSA Is So Overwhelmed with Data, It’s No Longer Effective, Says Whistleblower examines the concept of “bulk data failure” by the NSA and other agencies. William Binney, a whistleblower who has been out of the NSA for over a decade, says that the sheer amount of data the NSA collects leads to oversights and ineffective surveillance. The article states,
“Binney said he estimated that a “maximum” of 72 companies were participating in the bulk records collection program — including Verizon, but said it was a drop in the ocean. He also called PRISM, the clandestine surveillance program that grabs data from nine named Silicon Valley giants, including Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, just a “minor part” of the data collection process. “The Upstream program is where the vast bulk of the information was being collected,” said Binney.”
It appears that big data presents challenges even when storage, servers, and money are available. Binney blames the data overload for bungles that have led to the Boston bombing and Paris shooting. He believes the NSA had the information needed to prevent the attacks, but couldn’t see the trees for the forest. Smart data collection, rather than mass data collection, is his suggestion to fix this information overload.
Chelsea Kerwin, June 4, 2014