Chris Spannos writes:
Widely used metaphors for understanding today’s mass surveillance — such as references to Nazi Germany, the Stasi or George Orwell’s Big Brother — run the risk of distracting attention from the horrors and crimes of past totalitarian regimes. But as measures against present abuses of power, like the fact that the NSA can collect 5 billion cell phone records per day, such comparisons can offer important insight. The Germany-based OpenDataCity compared the volume of records that the Stasi stored to the NSA’s capacity to store data. They determined that Stasi files would fill 48,000 filing cabinets, while just a single NSA server would fill 42 trillion filing cabinets. The organization concludes that the NSA can capture 1 billion times more data than the Stasi could.
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