by Mike Masnick
Tue, Nov 19th 2013 3:44am
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Oct 30th 2013 10:05am
from the muscular dept
The National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, according to documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with knowledgeable officials.There's even this wacky hand-drawn diagram:
By tapping those links, the agency has positioned itself to collect at will from among hundreds of millions of user accounts, many of them belonging to Americans. The NSA does not keep everything it collects, but it keeps a lot.
Either way, attacking the information flow appears to have been fairly effective for the NSA to spy on an awful lot of information, often on Americans:
According to a top secret accounting dated Jan. 9, 2013, NSA’s acquisitions directorate sends millions of records every day from Yahoo and Google internal networks to data warehouses at the agency’s Fort Meade headquarters. In the preceding 30 days, the report said, field collectors had processed and sent back 181,280,466 new records — ranging from “metadata,” which would indicate who sent or received e-mails and when, to content such as text, audio and video.It also appears that the way that the NSA is claiming this is "legal" is by only breaking into the Yahoo and Google datacenters that are outside the US, where there's significantly less oversight. That is, rather than being under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act (the metadata collection of phone calls) or Section 702 of the FAA (PRISM and the tapping of the internet backbone from US telcos), this is done under Executive Order 12333 -- which some (especially Marcy Wheeler) have been claiming is where attention should really be paid. This latest report certainly suggests that the NSA is routing a lot of its snooping via this program -- which explains the "not under this program" language they often use around questions on 215 and 702 data collections.
The real question, now, is what Google and Yahoo do in response to this. They should continue (obviously) encrypting those weak points (and, really, everything), but they should also sue the US government. For all the talk (often from the NSA's Keith Alexander) about "cybersecurity" attacks on big internet companies, who knew that the biggest infiltrators were probably the NSA itself.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 8th 2010 4:55pm
from the be-productive dept
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jan 22nd 2010 4:47pm
from the seems-like-a-problem dept
The bigger question is what impact this will have. Chronic understaffing in a data center could lead to serious security issues, increased downtime (decreased reliability) and certainly decreased responsiveness to problems. With many of the survey respondents also claiming they're hoping to decrease headcount even further, this could become a bigger issue going forward.
The report also claims that the survey's creators were "surprised" to find out that mid-market companies were more likely to experiment with new technologies, as compared to the big companies, but I don't find that surprising at all. Big companies are pretty resistant to change (especially if they have some big IT project that is "working.") Still, if those companies are finding their data centers regularly understaffed, it could create more difficulty in getting getting new projects successfully off the ground. So I'm curious how companies are dealing with these issues and trying to avoid problems with understaffed data centers, while still being able to try out new technologies and services.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Dec 31st 2009 2:49pm
from the a-little-visual-porn dept
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Dec 30th 2009 6:18pm
from the behind-the-scenes dept
At the same time, as neat as it is to read about Weta Digital's massive computing power (which apparently represents one of the 200 largest "super computers") in the world, I'm still left wondering if the trend -- even for amazing movie effects -- isn't moving away from such massive data centers. We're seeing more and more what can be done on the cheap. And, no, it doesn't come close to matching the stunning effects found in the blockbuster movies that Weta works on, but it does have all the symptoms of a classic innovator's dilemma scenario, where the new stuff isn't "as good" as the old stuff, but is improving at a faster rate, and quickly reaching a point where it's "good enough" at significantly lower price points.
Given the regular discussions around here concerning movie budgets, where do people think the technology is headed for movie special effects? Will it always be run in giant datacenters, or is there a place for making high quality (even blockbuster-type) films on cheaper hardware?
Mon, Sep 15th 2008 5:14pm
from the yo-ho-ho-an'-a-barrel-o'-patents dept
by Timothy Lee
Tue, Mar 4th 2008 3:23pm
from the better-products-needed dept
One of the biggest signs that a business has trouble ahead is when it seems to be focusing on everything except the quality of its products. Back in the dot-com boom it was common to see a bunch of MBAs get together and draw up plans for a technology company, raise a bunch of funding, throw a lavish launch party, buy a Super Bowl ad, and then hire some programmers to implement the product almost as an afterthought. Most of them aren't around any more. If I were a Microsoft shareholder, I think I would be worried about the rumors going around that "an aggressive acceleration of the company's investment in its data center network" will be "one of the cornerstones" of Microsoft's online strategy. Obviously, Microsoft is going to need more and better data centers to compete effectively with Google. But ultimately, success in the online marketplace is the result of having great products, not great data centers. If you've got such a great product that demand is outstripping your server capacity, it's not that hard to buy additional infrastructure. But if your core products suck, a lot of servers and disk space isn't going to do you any good. Indeed, I suspect that it doesn't even make sense to build "data centers" in the abstract. It's hard to know exactly what mix of hardware will be needed and how it should be set up without a specific suite of applications in mind. So it seems like it would make sense for Microsoft to focus its resources on developing and marketing great products (like this one, perhaps) and upgrade their data centers as demand warrants. Treating data centers as a "cornerstone" of their strategy seems like they're putting the cart before the horse.
Techcrunch points us to an even more egregious example of focusing on the wrong things: AOL has been touting the number of new sites it plans to launch in the coming year. It's hard to think of a more meaningless statistic than the number of websites your company owns. AOL says it plans to roll out 30 websites by the end of 2008, but one good website will generate more traffic than 30 bad ones. Google, for example launches new sites all the time, but you don't see them bragging about the number of new sites they're launching. They understand that what their customers care about is what their sites can do, not how many there are. Of course, this is probably an outgrowth of AOL's misguided idea that it's in the advertising business rather than the online content business. When your company focus is on advertisers, then websites probably seem like interchangeable places to sell ads. The problem is that if the content isn't any good, you'll have fewer and fewer eyeballs to sell to those advertisers—even if the number of websites you own keeps going up.
Tue, Aug 14th 2007 12:08pm
from the the-cost-of-juice dept
Tue, Jul 24th 2007 4:09pm
from the or-blame-the-PR-people,-your-choice dept
"To ensure uptime for key tenants such as RedEnvelope, 365 Main provides modern power and cooling infrastructure. The company's San Francisco facility includes two complete back-up systems for electrical power to protect against a power loss. In the unlikely event of a cut to a primary power feed, the state-of-the-art electrical system instantly switches to live back-up generators, avoiding costly downtime for tenants and keeping the data center continuously running."Good to see those backup systems are working!