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NSA Building $860 Million Data Center In Maryland 177

Posted by timothy
from the indifferent-to-your-objections dept.
1sockchuck writes "As its current data collection makes headlines, the National Security Agency is continuing to expand its data storage and processing capabilities. The agency recently broke ground on an $860 million data center at Fort Meade, Maryland that will span more than 600,000 square feet. The project will provide additional IT capacity beyond the NSA's controversial Utah data center. The new facility will be supported by 60 megawatts of power and use both air-cooled and liquid-cooled equipment."
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NSA Building $860 Million Data Center In Maryland

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    When is Google going to announce that it's also building a new data center in Fort Meade, Maryland? The NSA and Google data centers tend to be built in pairs.

  • sequester jester (Score:4, Insightful)

    by OffTheLip (636691) on Thursday June 06, 2013 @05:12PM (#43930601)
    Cry me a river. Regardless of how much lip service is given to the current fiscal pain the gov is shouldering there is always a revenue source for pet projects and nothing returned to their source of funds (us taxpayers).
    • by plopez (54068)

      Yeah I wonder how many budget hawks mindlessly throw money at anything even vaguely associated with National "Security".

  • of the price of "freedom"
    • by plopez (54068)

      We had to destroy the Constitution in order to save it. And I don't mean the 2nd amendment. I mean the entire bill of rights as well as the separation of powers.

      • by jeffclay (1077679)
        That doesn't make any fucking sense! If you're going to save the Constitution, that includes the Bill of Rights. If you destroy the BoR then you have essentially destroyed the Constitution AND what it stood for!
        • by plopez (54068)

          During the Vietnam war there was an officer once asked, "Why was the village destroyed?" His answer was, "We had to destroy it in order to save it." Please read some history.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "logging machine"...

    • by Atzanteol (99067)

      Seriously - they're going to need *somewhere* to store all our info.

    • Re:$860 Million (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Thursday June 06, 2013 @06:18PM (#43931105)

      "logging machine"...

      On the contrary, the NSA has some great minds working for them, and they are probably doing some very interesting and useful analysis with all that data. The problem is, what great minds create, can be misused by others.

      All this power is supposed to be used to catch terrorists. But now that this database is out in the open, a lot of other folks will find reasons why they must also have access to it.

      Think of a simple police detective at the scene of a murder interviewing potential witnesses and suspects. He could immediately get a topology drawn of who knows who, and which ones have been chatting a lot with each other. Usually the poor policeman needs to do a lot of grunt and foot work to map this out. And get warrants for phone records. This would really help his investigation a lot.

      But do we really want data collected this way to be used that way . . . ? What will prevent a slippery slide of more and more agencies and organizations getting access to this data for their own purposes . . . ? Can the DEA escalate their war on drugs to also be a matter of national security? This info could also help the IRS track down money launderers as well . . . how about the IRS . . . ?

      Now that the government has this "Critical Tool" at their disposal, the more important question is not how can it be used, but how it should not be used.

      • Re:$860 Million (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday June 06, 2013 @06:52PM (#43931311)

        Don't be a fool. Terrorism is not, and never was a threat. More people are killed by cancer every DAY than have been killed by terrorist attacks in this country in all of history. Imagine if they'd used the money from these 2 data centers for cancer research. Either their idiots or their goal has nothing to do with terrorists.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Don't be a fool. Terrorism is not, and never was a threat. More people are killed by cancer every DAY than have been killed by terrorist attacks in this country in all of history. Imagine if they'd used the money from these 2 data centers for cancer research. Either their idiots or their goal has nothing to do with terrorists.

          More people might die from accidents than murder every day, but murder shouldn't be easy to get away with or everyone on a soapbox would be assassinated.

          Terrorism isn't about the death and destruction or teh terrorz, it's 100% about intent.

          Like any other crime, you don't actually stop it, you make it not worthwhile.

          • by spune (715782)
            or [wikipedia.org] everyone [wikipedia.org] on [wikipedia.org] a [wikipedia.org] soapbox [wikipedia.org] would [wikipedia.org] be [wikipedia.org] assassinated. [wikipedia.org]
          • Don't be a fool. Terrorism is not, and never was a threat. More people are killed by cancer every DAY than have been killed by terrorist attacks in this country in all of history. Imagine if they'd used the money from these 2 data centers for cancer research. Either their idiots or their goal has nothing to do with terrorists.

            More people might die from accidents than murder every day, but murder shouldn't be easy to get away with or everyone on a soapbox would be assassinated.

            Terrorism isn't about the death and destruction or teh terrorz, it's 100% about intent.

            Like any other crime, you don't actually stop it, you make it not worthwhile.

            Murder is easy to get away with. For the most part they only catch the stupid and the poor. The government likes to give you the impression that you're safe but the fact of the matter is 35% of murders go unsolved. Most of those that were caught were heat-of-the-moment type murders that are easy. Premeditated murders almost always go unsolved.

            So are you safe? Yes! Why? Because people don't want to kill you. We can live in a society governed by ourselves. We do not need nannys watching our every move. The fa

        • by gatkinso (15975)

          >> Terrorism is not, and never was a threat.

          I can think of 2800 people who might disagree with that.

          • by chihowa (366380)

            You can find 2800 people who might disagree with anything. That's 0.09% of the US population and one of the least likely causes of death. It's a question of priorities and allocation of resources.

      • by hoggoth (414195)

        You mean the same people who just arrested a kid for giving a cop a "dehumanizing stare" and repeatedly punched a deaf women in the face for not hearing his commands are going to be able to pick a person and know everyone that person has been in contact with? What could possibly go wrong...?

        • You mean the same people who just arrested a kid for giving a cop a "dehumanizing stare"

          Wow just googled that one.

          I like how despite the evidence of blatantly illegal actions by the cops, they still have the kid up on felony charges. In a civillised place, the cops would be in the dock, but it's Florida, so no chance of that happening.

  • Cool! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 06, 2013 @05:29PM (#43930745)

    Now I won't have to go through the trouble of backing up any of my e-mail!

    • Now I won't have to go through the trouble of backing up any of my e-mail!

      Who said they were planning to share all that information? One of the first principles of Top Secret is that even if it's yours, even if it's plastered on lamp-posts all over town, even if it's been made into a popular song being sung all over the world they won't let you see it.

    • by greenguy (162630)

      The other good news here is that 90% of the emails the NSA collects are spam.

  • ...where do I get a nice tinfoil hat?

    It's not paranoia if it's out in the news.....

  • Fixing the problem (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Okian Warrior (537106) on Thursday June 06, 2013 @05:36PM (#43930795) Homepage Journal

    It's become clear that the federal government no longer serves the interests of the people.

    Does anyone have suggestions for fixing the problem?

    Whenever some "government done did wrong again" article comes up, the comments are all non-constructive: blithe unconcern, fatalism, pessimism, and so on.

    What constructive actions can be taken, and how can the people be encouraged to support these actions?

    My one idea: If people could band together and agree to vote out the incumbent (senator, representative, president) whenever one of these incidents crop up, there would be incentive for politicians to better serve the people in order to continue in office. This would mean giving up party loyalty and the idea of "lessor of two evils", which a lot of people won't do. Some congressional elections are quite close, so 2,000 or so petitioners might be enough to swing a future election.

    (And no, replies of "you won't accomplish anything because of this reason" are not constructive.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Tor, I2dP and the likes. Let's build a new common internet over the internet. Full strong anonymity and integrity.

      Transform what an eavesdropper would see in a huge cypherpunk clusterfuck.

      Taking back what's ours through technology and educated practices.

      There is no fatality, even the tools are there already. Let's go back to the 90' where the internet was a place for knowledgeable and cooperative people.

      Also die facebook.

      • by nrdufour (1339053)
        If you go towards that road, then let's go full scale by deploying small wireless routers across the globe creating a real mesh network as internet was designed to be!
    • That's pretty much it. Status quo isn't going to get the government to change direction. First step will be to replace as many politicians as we can. It'd be nice to see an ad campaign that basically says, even if you don't get to know the people running for election, vote for anyone BUT the incumbent. Once that's accomplished, if nothing changes, then perhaps it's time for a little civil unrest. Civil unrest, while nasty, costs the government time, money, and gets the attention of international media.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      http://www.wolf-pac.com

    • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdotNO@SPAMhackish.org> on Thursday June 06, 2013 @05:51PM (#43930899)

      A first step might be understanding the extent towards which the government actually disagrees with the people. Are we talking about a situation where the government is enacting unpopular policies that people oppose? Or are we talking about a situation where people support the policies? Because the solutions to those two situations are very different.

      In many cases involving "national security", I think the situation is closer to the second one. "Tough on X" policies are quite popular, and politicians often pander to people by enacting them. The USA Patriot Act, for example, was hugely popular when it was passed. And in general, politicians get voted out of office more often for being not "tough" on crime and terrorism and whatever else, than for being too over-the-top in pursuing those policies.

    • by nrdufour (1339053)
      You clearly need more than 2 political parties and we need more feedback. I like the swiss system where you vote for a lot of decisions, both locally but nationally. Another thing is that so far we take most of those decisions on ideology and/or particular interests. I wouldn't mind looking for other ways in decision making, perhaps more fact grounded ...
    • by turp182 (1020263) on Thursday June 06, 2013 @05:59PM (#43930971) Journal

      The Uniparty system we are under is the problem, so swaying the vote would be ineffective. The Repubs and Dems are basically the same, at least when it comes to power and surveillance. Both parties like the power. And abuse it.

        The problem is getting access to high level elections, and coalescing people on a third party. It is a difficult problem.

      • I have to wonder, though.. what would happen if a substantial portion of voters left the ballot blank when there are only R and D options? Wouldn't an election where a large chunk of the populace pointedly abstained (as opposed to just not voting, which can be mistaken for apathy) make a point? What would it take to get a "None of the Above" option on our ballots?

        • by turp182 (1020263)

          Interesting idea, the none of the above option for a Presidential election.

          At the same time, voting for anything other than Repub or Dem is a "none of the above" vote, because we have a two-party system.

          What I feel is needed is a true 3rd party, not 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th parties, such as Green, Tea Party, Libertarian; we need an agreeable third party that can compete against the two majors without a lot of interference from small parties. We need a consensus third party.

          For example, my views. I'm liberta

    • by korgitser (1809018) on Thursday June 06, 2013 @06:11PM (#43931069)

      My best guess:
      1) this kind of sht is morally wrong
      2) thus, working for this kind of sht is morally wrong
      3) thus, anybody who works for this kind of sht is going to hell, for whatever your value of 'hell'.
      4) you might say that 'i need the money from this gig', but
      5) anybody who works for this kind of sht is feeding their kids but is at the same time fscking over the kids' future bigtime. Your kids will not forgive you for being the AC IRL.

      From this, it should easily emerge that everybody should just stop working for this sht. No workers, no NSA. There needs to emerge a culture and a movement to encourage it. Shame the spineless coward who works for the Man! Shun him or tell him what he does is evil and his country hates him for it. Spread the word!
      You, everybody, personally, need to work to push this through. By this time and age it should be obvious that the Man is the real terrorist. Your democratic functions have long since ceased to return value, hoping for change in elections will not do. It will require significant effort from each and every american to repeal this next age of slavery.

      • by thoth (7907)

        I think there's an assumption there which is false, that being: 0) everybody working at NSA is fully devoted to working on stuff you think is questionable.

        There are a ton of people there in the military, that are linguists, and probably are military linguists spending their time translating intercepts and locating foreign military targets. You know, "sht" that actually does protect the country should it come to war somewhere. Beating the terrorist drum probably just gets Congress off their back as far as fu

    • by Kwirl (877607) <kwirlkarphys@gmail.com> on Thursday June 06, 2013 @06:15PM (#43931089)
      http://anticorruptionact.org/ [anticorruptionact.org]
      http://www.ted.com/talks/lawrence_lessig_we_the_people_and_the_republic_we_must_reclaim.html [ted.com]
      http://action.fairelectionsnow.org/fairelections [fairelectionsnow.org]
      http://represent.us/ [represent.us]
      http://www.protectourdemocracy.com/ [protectourdemocracy.com]
      http://www.wolf-pac.com/ [wolf-pac.com]
      https://www.unpac.org/ [unpac.org]
      And many others - someone passed those links on to me and whenever someone asks 'What can we do" I usually reply along those lines.
    • by Mansing (42708) on Thursday June 06, 2013 @06:17PM (#43931097)

      Vote them out AND remove their lifetime, taxpayer-funded, free health care.

      See how fast the health care system gets fixed.

    • by femtobyte (710429)

      lessor of two evils

      An apt Freudian slip for describing our system set up to rent out political influence (through both major parties) to those with the money to pay.

    • What constructive actions can be taken, and how can the people be encouraged to support these actions?

      You can start by letting your house and senate rep know how you feel about this issue / patriot act and encourage others you know to do the same.

      My one idea: If people could band together and agree to vote out the incumbent (senator, representative, president) whenever one of these incidents crop up, there would be incentive for politicians to better serve the people in order to continue in office.

      If enough people let their representivies know how they feel obviously those officials who want to be reelected will tend to take notice. We have seen what happens when wikipedia and google go "dark", congressional switchboards melt and the 180's start to pile up.

      (And no, replies of "you won't accomplish anything because of this reason" are not constructive.)

      A second track is to offer technical solutions to deny or imede government access to our private infor

    • by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Thursday June 06, 2013 @06:33PM (#43931203)

      It's become clear that the federal government no longer serves the interests of the people.

      Does anyone have suggestions for fixing the problem?

      Whenever some "government done did wrong again" article comes up, the comments are all non-constructive: blithe unconcern, fatalism, pessimism, and so on.

      What constructive actions can be taken, and how can the people be encouraged to support these actions?

      My one idea: If people could band together and agree to vote out the incumbent (senator, representative, president) whenever one of these incidents crop up, there would be incentive for politicians to better serve the people in order to continue in office. This would mean giving up party loyalty and the idea of "lessor of two evils", which a lot of people won't do. Some congressional elections are quite close, so 2,000 or so petitioners might be enough to swing a future election.

      (And no, replies of "you won't accomplish anything because of this reason" are not constructive.)

      From what I've seen, local politicians are mostly OK. They may be corrupt, but practicality doesn't get pushed aside by blind partisanship. Moving up to the state level, it's less so, especially recently in my own home state. But since the name recognition for reaching state office generally comes from having first participated at local levels, we could start turning this thing around by considering more carefully the records of those we "promote" to that level. I've seen too many regional/statewide campagins where the reason for voting for the other guy is that "So-and-so is Too Liberal" or "Such-and-such has strong Conservative values". Forget all this Liberal/Conservative, Republican/Democrat, Us/Them crap. Look beyond the narrow issues and the one-size-fits-all solutions and don't vote for the person who reaffirms your strongest prejudices, vote for the person most likely to do actual practical good.

      Vote 1-strike-and-you're out. If the person you elect ends up doing the same old thing as everyone else has been doing, vote for someone else next time, even if it's not the ideal person. Even if the other guy makes your skin crawl. One bad choice only makes a difference if all the choices are the same bad choice. That's why we have groups of legislators. Make them all fear for their jobs, because no matter how much you spend on a campaign, if the people don't vote for you, it's no good.

      And do it again for the next level up, all the way to the top. We need to stop voting our emotions and vote with our brains. We need to move beyond the same old solutions-that-can't-solve, and it doesn't matter whether the reason they failed was actual flaws in the solution or simply that the solution requires an unrealistic set of circumstances (such as zero opposition) to work.

      In the end, we always get the government we deserve, but I'd like to think we deserve better than what we've got.

    • It's become clear that the federal government no longer serves the interests of the people.

      Does anyone have suggestions for fixing the problem?

      Whenever some "government done did wrong again" article comes up, the comments are all non-constructive: blithe unconcern, fatalism, pessimism, and so on.

      What constructive actions can be taken, and how can the people be encouraged to support these actions?

      My one idea: If people could band together and agree to vote out the incumbent (senator, representative, president) whenever one of these incidents crop up, there would be incentive for politicians to better serve the people in order to continue in office. This would mean giving up party loyalty and the idea of "lessor of two evils", which a lot of people won't do. Some congressional elections are quite close, so 2,000 or so petitioners might be enough to swing a future election.

      (And no, replies of "you won't accomplish anything because of this reason" are not constructive.)

      Eliminate the two party duopoly by voting for a third-party candidate.

    • by wbr1 (2538558)
      Swinging it does not matter, between the two evil choices. All the votes need to be dumped elsewhere, and will they be any better?

      All animals are created equal. Some are more equal than others.

    • by thoth (7907)

      (And no, replies of "you won't accomplish anything because of this reason" are not constructive.)

      You're asking for the impossible, there are simply too many issues a modern superpower has to deal with to make EVERYBODY happy. What you propose, voting out the incumbent, boils down to direct democracy where whoever shouts the loudest over the issue they are most passionate about, gets heard.

      I mean that's one way to do it, but you won't make any progress excluding politicians for not holding the single viewpoint you find important. 50 other citizens are going to care about 50 other things that aren't even

      • by cffrost (885375)

        You're asking for the impossible, there are simply too many issues a modern superpower has to deal with to make EVERYBODY happy.

        Impossible stuff like following the Constitution?

        Hell, maybe the NSA can check my billing records to find out if I've been overcharged or being ripped off and charge the phone company back on my behalf.

        Well, I thought that was funny. I'm sorry you haven't received the +Funny mods you earned here.

        • by thoth (7907)

          Impossible stuff like following the Constitution?

          I hate to break it to you, but they are. Not the mythical one that exists in your mind, but the one involving check and balances.
          The laws were created by Congress, approved by the courts, duly executed by the executive. If you don't like it, then talk to CONGRESS which is the root of basically everything.

          Yeah yeah, I hear you screaming about the 4th Amendment and whatever. Here's the deal - are you an attorney? a judge? in a position to interpret or rule on the law? No? Then guess what, STFU because your in

    • What constructive actions can be taken, and how can the people be encouraged to support these actions?

      As far as I can see, there are only two viable approaches.

      1) replace the voting system. Plurality voting will always lead [wikipedia.org] to the mess we have now. The only contribution towards politics I've made in years was to fund Approval Voting video [indiegogo.com]. It's the best compromise for a replacement system. Work to get it allowed at your Town or City level, then we can take it higher.

      2) Since you're a tech nerd, think ab

      • Good points. I'd add lobbying for a "basic income" and also possibly greatly expanding the House of Representaives by 10X so money is less of a factor in elections.

        By the way, the link in your sig to 5ttt.org may be broken; interesting idea though:
        http://pdos.csail.mit.edu/~petar/5ttt.org/ [mit.edu]
        "Tonika is an administration-free platform for large-scale open-membership (social) networks with robust security, anonymity, resilience and performance guarantees. ... A (digital) social network, which (by design) restric

        • Thanks for the head's up - I sent Petar a message to see if he's going to renew the domain.

          BTW, there's no need for a guaranteed minimum income, productivity improvements should take care of that if real money exists. The 1964 minimum wage, extended to today, nets about $25/hr, which is plenty for entry level work. Our debased currency makes it much sadder, of course.

          I think I saw Walter Williams work out that we should have about 15,000 Congressmen by now. In my State there are about 400 legislators for

          • You're welcome. On a basic income, one reason for a basic income versus increasing the minimum wage is that it ensures purchasing power is distributed somewhat evenly across a society. The market only hears the needs of people with money. But the value of most human labor is declining relative to capital used for automation (especially AI and robotics), as has been long predicted (like in "The Triple Revolution" memorandum from 1964).

            It's true that an increased minimum wage (similar to say Denmark) would he

    • Does anyone have suggestions for fixing the problem?

      Sic semper tyrannis. It's time to put some people up against the wall.

      • by cffrost (885375)

        Does anyone have suggestions for fixing the problem?

        Sic semper tyrannis. It's time to put some people up against the wall.

        I don't get you, man. How's playing a game of dodgeball supposed to fix anything?

    • by Bartles (1198017)
      Something about the People's consent to be governed. One founding document has been systematically destroyed. The other is becoming stronger and more valid.
  • How many Libraries of Congress can it store?
  • Someday in the future:

    The NSA can record all communications. They use back-scatter X-ray and medical imaging to read all physical mail correspondence (honey, have you notice the mail delivery has been slower lately?). They know how the unpublished Stephen King novel ends (and begins). And of course all electronic communications are captured. And your phone calls, got it.

    But their saving grace is their Public Service Announcement:
    Yes, the TSA may be collecting everything, but this isn't Total Information

  • This makes sense considering the extent of data collection in what appears to be a leak from a Verizon employee on all caller data from all calls made in the US. Since we can assume that all carriers have received similar secret orders to turn over all customer data they would need to expand their data processing capability.
  • by OhANameWhatName (2688401) on Thursday June 06, 2013 @06:52PM (#43931309)
    I thought that the US was in debt so far that they're defaulting on the bonds they sold to China? And the government has 860 million to throw around just to find out where their citizens are eating lunch?

    It's amazing that this data centre is worth more to the US government that financial liquidity.
    • by jeff4747 (256583)

      The thing to remember about people freaking out about the deficit is that they don't give a damn about the deficit.

      What they're concerned about is their political aims. At the moment, freaking out about the deficit serves their political aims. But the exact same people cheerfully expanded our debt from $5T to $11T during the Bush administration.

      As with all politicians, don't pay attention to what they say. Pay attention to what they do over time.

    • "they're defaulting on the bonds they sold to China?"

      Would you care to relate the factual basis for your claim that the US is defaulting on public debt?

      As an aside, the one restriction on speech explicitly listed in the US Constitution is questioning the validity of the public debt. (14th Amendment, Section4)

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Where does the money come from?

      From US taxpayers' pocket.

    • by turp182 (1020263)

      There won't be a default (or a delay in interest payments). All players in the game know that would be disastrous. The Republicans in question are just trying to make a name for themselves (this is actually why it wouldn't happen, if we did delay some interest payments those same people would be political pariahs - this is all just lip service).

      In fact, this article (http://in.reuters.com/article/2011/06/08/idINIndia-57573120110608) has a funny statement regarding this:
      The Republicans' theory is that bond

  • where the @#^( are they getting this much electricity? are there secret nuclear power plants on the east coast?

  • Seems like they're building a precrime unit... As any decent terrorist knows, regular communications are intercepted and everything may be bugged, so they communicate in other ways. I mean, the Boston bombers for instance were clearly coordinating their attack and yet law enforcement was not aware of the attack prior to the attack itself, so they successfully hid from the NSA, FBI etc.

    So the only way is to analyze communication leading up to the radicalization to predict if and when a terrorist is born. Tha

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