DEA Gets Lawsuit Dismissed Because It Couldn't Cope With Two Terabytes Of Evidence
from the the-cost-of-storage-these-days dept
Catching up on some older stories, Aaron DeOliveira points us to the bizarre news that the DEA sought (and got) dismissal of a case against someone involved in a online pharmacy prescription drug scam (basically prescribing the drugs without ever seeing the patients) because the DEA was sick of storing all of the evidence, both electronic and paper. How much evidence?
More than 400,000 documents and two terabytes of electronic data that federal authorities say is expensive to maintain….
[….] “Continued storage of these materials is difficult and expensive,” wrote Stephanie Rose, the U.S. attorney for northern Iowa. She called the task “an economic and practical hardship” for the Drug Enforcement Administration….
[….] The evidence took up 5 percent of the DEA’s worldwide electronic storage. Agents had also kept several hundred boxes of paper containing 440,000 documents, plus dozens of computers, servers and other bulky items.
Two terabytes is enough to store the text of 2 million novels, or roughly 625,000 copies of “War and Peace.”
None of this makes much sense. You can pick up a two-terabyte drive for a little over $100 (I was just looking to pick up a couple for a backup system). The fact that it can store 2 million novels is meaningless. The idea that it’s expensive to store that much seems silly — as does the claim that 2 terabytes represents 5% of the DEA’s “worldwide electronic storage.” I recognize that government procurement is a ridiculous process, but if there’s any truth to this, then the DEA is even more dysfunctional than originally believed.
As Scott Greenfield noted in the link above:
The revelations from this motion, if true, are amazing and appalling. Given the scope of electronic data involves in investigations, the claim that two terabytes constitutes five percent of the DEA’s storage capacity is laughable. It suggests that they’re screwing with us, and have no ability to do 90% of the things they claim or we fear they’re up to.
Indeed, while we worry about their creating mirror images of hard drives of thousands of computers, or obtaining digital evidence from hundreds of thousands of cellphones, this isn’t conceivably possible if the total storage capacity of the DEA is 40 terabytes. It just can’t be.