Charlie Harvey

Infographic: Facebook Vs the Stasi in numbers

Some time ago, OpenDataCity made a map visualising the relative size of data held by the Stasi and NSA, you can view it below. Partly inspired by that, I thought it would be interesting to compare the Stasi with another vast data collection operation — Facebook. Here, then, is Facebook Vs the Stasi in numbers.

Is it fair to compare?

Not quite. But it is interesting to think about the parallels. I am particularly concerned in by way that social networks encourage users to share information about their friends, for instance by becoming "friends" with them or tagging them in photos. Especially given that the NSA seems to have access to most of this data one way or another. Fascinatingly, just like Facebook, the Stasi were interested in social network analysis.


I always find it irritating when infographics don’t share their sources. So you can see the references for all of the figures in an ethercalc doc. If I have missed any out, let me know in the comments.

Stasi vs the NSA

Here is the original NSA/Stasi infographic that brought home quite how much data they were collecting. Hint: zoom out.

Link: Stasi versus NSA. Made by OpenDataCity (CC-BY 3.0)

Images of Stasi Logo and FB logo from wikipedia. FB is public domain, Stasi Logo is CC-BY-SA 3 jgaray, based on Nickel Chromo's raster design.


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