“According to figures published by a major tech provider, the Internet carries 1,826 Petabytes of information per day. In its foreign intelligence mission, NSA touches about 1.6% of that. However, of the 1.6% of the data, only 0.025% is actually selected for review. The net effect is that NSA analysts look at 0.00004% of the world’s traffic in conducting their mission — that’s less than one part in a million. Put another way, if a standard basketball court represented the global communications environment, NSA’s total collection would be represented by an area smaller than a dime on that basketball court.” – NSA whitepaper, released today

Really? Let’s check.

1.6% = 0.016. 0.025% = 0.00025. 0.016 * 0.00025 = 0.000004, or 0.0004%, not 0.00004% (notice the extra zero they added).

Is this less than one part in a million? No. It’s four parts per million (0.000004 = 4 * 10^-6).

A professional basketball court is 423 square meters, or 4230000 square centimeters. A dime is 2.52 square centimeters, a factor of 1,680,000 smaller. Hence, even given their own numbers, their comparison understates the issue by a factor of seven.

A minor quibble? Maybe. But if the NSA can’t be trusted to do simple arithmetic honestly,.. ?