The NSA Is Being Overwhelmed By Spam
Posted in: Spam at 16/10/2013 12:58
In the latest article based on the Edward Snowden documents, the Washington Post's Barton Gellman and Ashkan Soltani report that the NSA is "harvesting hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal e-mail and instant messaging accounts around the world, many of them belonging to Americans... in large numbers that amount to a sizable fraction of the world's e-mail and instant messaging accounts." These amount to hundreds of thousands of email address books and chat contact lists per day.
NSA Director Keith Alexander has defended the practice of bulk data collection in the past, saying, "You need the haystack to find the needle." But this latest program may revive the question of whether, privacy issues aside, the NSA is pouring way too much hay on the stack.
The NSA's giant Utah data center will probably hold a bunch of spam
The NSA's data-collection activities are so resource-intensive, the agency can't complete its new server farms fast enough. But when it does, a significant share of what gets held on those servers could wind up being worthless spam.
We now know the NSA collects hundreds of thousands of address books and contact lists from e-mail services and instant messaging clients per day. Thanks to this information, the NSA is capable of building a map of a target's online relationships.