NSA Utah ‘Data Center’: Biggest-ever domestic spying lab?

Published: 17 March, 2012, 05:09

Overview of Camp Williams site before the construction works began. UDC will be located on the west side of the highway, on what was previously an airfield (Image from <a href=www.publicintelligence.net)" height="252" width="337" />

Overview of Camp Williams site before the construction works began. UDC will be located on the west side of the highway, on what was previously an airfield (Image from www.publicintelligence.net)

The biggest-ever data complex, to be completed in Utah in 2013, may take American citizens into a completely new reality where their emails, phone calls, online shopping lists and virtually entire lives will be stored and reviewed.

­US government agencies are growing less patient with their own country with every month. First, paying with cash, shielding your laptop screen and a whole list of other commonplace habits was proclaimed to be suspicious – and if you see something you are prompted to say something. Then, reports emerged that drones are being fetched for police forces. Now, the state of Utah seems to be making way in a bid to host the largest-ever cyber shield in the history of American intelligence. Or is it a cyber-pool?

Utah sprang to media attention when the Camp Williams military base near the town of Bluffdale sprouted a vast, 240-acre construction site. American outlets say that what's hiding under the modest plate of a Utah Data Complex is a prospective intelligence facility ordered by the National Security Agency.

­Cyber-security vs. Total awareness

The NSA maintains that the data center, to be completed by September 2013, is a component of the Comprehensive National Cyber-security Initiative. The facility is to provide technical assistance to the Department of Homeland Security, collect intelligence on cyber threats and carry out cyber-security objectives, reported Reuters.

But both ordinary Americans and their intelligence community were quick to dub it “a spy center.

­The Utah Data Center will be built on a 240-acre site near Camp Williams, Utah. Once completed in September 2013, it will be twice as large as the US Capitol. The center will provide 100,000 square feet of computer space, out of a total one million square feet. The project, launched in 2010, is to cost the National Security Agency up to $2 billion.

The highly-classified project will be responsible for intercepting, storing and analyzing intelligence data as it zips through both domestic and international networks. The data may come in all forms: private e-mails, cell phone calls, Google searches – even parking lot tickets or shop purchases.

This is more than just a data center,” an official source close to the project told the online magazine Wired.com. The source says the center will actually focus on deciphering the accumulated data, essentially code-breaking.

This means not only exposing Facebook activities or Wikipedia requests, but compromising “the invisible” Internet, or the “deepnet.” Legal and business deals, financial transactions, password-protected files and inter-governmental communications will all become vulnerable.

Once communication data is stored, a process known as data-mining will begin. Everything a person does – from traveling to buying groceries – is to be displayed on a graph, allowing the NSA to paint a detailed picture of any given individual’s life.

With this in mind, the agency now indeed looks to be “the most covert and potentially most intrusive intelligence agency ever,” as Wired.com puts it.

William Binney, NSA’s former senior mathematician-gone-whistleblower, holds his thumb and forefinger close together and tells the on-line magazine:

We are that far from a turnkey totalitarian state.

­‘Everybody is a target’

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