An anonymous reader cites ZDNet's Zack Whittaker report: William Binney, a former NSA official who spent more than three decades at the agency, said the US government's mass surveillance programs have become so engorged with data that they are no longer effective, losing vital intelligence in the fray. That, he said, can -- and has -- led to terrorist attacks succeeding. Binney said that an analyst today can run one simple query across the NSA's various databases, only to become immediately overloaded with information. With about four billion people -- around two-thirds of the world's population -- under the NSA and partner agencies' watchful eyes, according to his estimates, there is too much data being collected. Perhaps that's one of the reasons why NSA wants to dump the phone records it gathered over the past 14 years.