I was up to 3:00 a.m. last night talking with a friend of mine named Omega (not his real name – probably didn’t need to say that, but then again people are going crazy with baby names) about the economy and the role of governance in it. We don’t always agree, partly because we both like playing Devil’s advocate so we can argue, but he’s a brilliant guy and our conversations/debates are always so fascinating I find myself unable to go to bed. We’ve had debates ranging from the role of regulation in the economy to the War on Terror to whether or not whales would create works of art if they had hands. I don’t remember which sides we were on, but it was a spirited struggle of overly sleepy minds.
Last night’s conversation started when I talked about how the NSA is building that Utah facility so they can store yottabytes of data. I’m not that upset that they can listen to my calls and look at my google searches (oh, Google searches, the things we’ve seen together over the years… but why must you bring up pictures automatically? So many things I didn’t want to see) or check my non-existent Facebook and Twitter accounts because I don’t tweet or face. I’m not upset that they want to store some of that. I’m upset that they apparently want to save the whole internet. Seriously, how much crap are you guys saving? It’s like the guy who worked at the Pentagon who was spending 6 hours a day looking at porn and had a whole office full of terabytes of porn. How far does it go before you say to yourself “I’ve got a problem. I gotta dial this back a little.”
There’s all these shows about hoarding now and I think we need to have an intervention for the NSA. Somewhere in Utah are going to be billions of tweets, Google searches and phone calls, just laying around waiting for some poor overworked desk jockey to look at. Sifting through exabytes of late night booty calls, drunk dials, Tweets about some guy getting a decent cup of coffee, uploaded cat videos, pictures of unconscious drunks with vulgar images painted on them, and a couple billion texts that just say “Wear u at?” Has the NSA seen the internet lately? Trust me, it’s not worth your time.
Also, when the facility is complete, it will require 65 megawatts to power it. The power bill alone will be 40 million a year. I can only imagine that the CPU fans will leave Utah a scorched wasteland, inhabited only by small tribes of Mormons in bedouin robes, wandering from oasis to oasis by camel, traveling only at night and living off of cactus and scorpion meat.
As for preventing terrorist attacks that’s all well and good, but it doesn’t make sense. If you’re looking for keywords, save only the ones with keywords in them. If that’s still zettabytes, you’re keywords are way too vague. So, let’s say you’ve got yourself a yottabyte of data chock full of keywords. Somewhere in it is an imminent attack. So… you’ve got 100 million NSA agents, right? No. Oops. There might be a flaw in that system. Well, at least once the attacks are done and you know who did it, you’ll be able to show how innocuous their comments were in the newspaper because any terrorist who isn’t talking in code probably blew themselves up in their own basement as they clearly weren’t working with a full deck now that everyone knows that everything is tapped.
So yeah, I’m not surprised, shocked or all that upset about being spied on (I assumed we were doing this in the 90’s, so it’s history someone finally wrote down.) I’m upset that their wasting my money to feed their data collection addiction. Because the NSA is sure that that white whale is still lurking in that sea of 1’s and 0’s and their willing to sink this ship to find it. True, our ship was built out of constitutional paper wrapped in money, but it was staying afloat as long as everyone believed in it. Then some idiots had to start poking holes in it. Now it’s just plain old paper.
So, my fellow Americans, I plead with you, ramp it up. Any time you got free minutes on your phone, just keep it dialing. Leave it on. Play waiting music for hours. Tweet about how you’re tweeting, then tweet about that self-referential tweet that you just tweeted and reward yourself with a tweet about it. Get on every social media site. Clog ’em up. Text each of your friends every 5 minutes to make sure they’re still there.
I want to see who’ll blink first, America or the NSA? What will they do? A bigger facility so they can store… well, Wikipedia doesn’t list anything bigger than a yottabyte, so more yottabytes then. Will they just pave over Utah to turn it into a giant collection facility? I want one that can be seen from space. I want the first thing aliens to ask when they get here is “Hey, what’s that building for? Some kind of research facility or particle collider?” So we can answer “That’s where we keep the spare internet in case the original breaks. Wanna see what Pimpinainteasy@gmail bought at Pottery Barn 3 years ago?”
Let’s help China’s chances of getting the “free democracy of the year award” for a change. We got them beat in prisoners (four times more if you’re counting by percentage of population or a quarter of all the prisoners in the world despite only having 5% of the world population), so why not on spying on our own citizens? We could end unemployment by creating 10 million new data sifter jobs. Eventually we can divide society into 150 million spies and 150 million spyees.
Finally, perhaps everyone make a call, text, tweet, search or post reciting the Fourth Amendment. Because it’s the only way they’re gonna see it. #wastingmyownmoney
A great example of the quality and character of Google searches: