The Internet Archive's Brewster Kahle has done the math on building a data-center that could hold all of America's voice-calls, and concluded that this it wouldn't quite fit within the $20M price-tag reported for Prism, though it's not far off.
These estimates show only $27M in capital cost, and $2M in electricity and take less than 5,000 square feet of space to store and process all US phonecalls made in a year. The NSA seems to be spending $1.7 billion on a 100k square foot datacenter that could easily handle this and much much more. Therefore, money and technology would not hold back such a project– it would be held back if someone did not have the opportunity or will.
When “social media” meant “blogs,” there were many tools, services and protocols that comprised an infrastructure for federated, open, loosely joined interaction: the rise of the social giants has killed off much of this infrastructure, all but erasing it from our memories.
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