How to spy on the NSA datacenter

How to spy on the NSA datacenter

Summary: They really don’t like it when you watch them.

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Utah_Data_Center_Panorama
NSA datacenter (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Despite building a massive facility for the purpose of storing the data it collects on Americans and everyone else it can find, sometimes in very grey ways, the NSA gets nervous when you even look at their new datacenter.  That’s one of the reasons it’s built on the expansive military base in Utah.

Though not quite the experience that has been reported by those who spend their time trying to catch a glimpse of the goings on at Groom Lake (AKA Area 51), the NSA datacenter facility is already starting to develop a reputation as a hard place for civilians to get near enough to see.

What started off as fairly commonplace security involving asking protesters to move along because they were on NSA property eventually became direct confrontation when NSA security in the facility parking lot not only told reporters to leave, but took away their camera equipment, returning it only after they had deleted images and videos taken of the facility and the interaction with security. They missed a single video, which has been widely reported, and can be seen here:

But one protest group has found a novel way to picket the datacenter facility, and they are doing it with the full backing of the state of Utah. The trick is that the Camp Williams military base, where the facility is located, is split by a public highway. Now while the government can stop people from parking along the sides of the highway, a protest group operating under the name “Restore the Fourth — Utah”; a reference to the Fourth amendment of the US constitution:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

has taken advantage of the well-known “Adopt A Highway” program to adopt the two-mile section of road that runs past the facility, including the main entrance to the datacenter.

The group has announced that they plan to carry picket signs while fulfilling their trash picking responsibilities under the highway adoption program.  They are required to run the garbage pick-up operation at least three times each year.

According to the Utah Department of Transportation, who administers the program, signs with the organizations name will shortly be placed at both ends of the adopted highway segment; a state-sponsored reminder of the protestors goals.

Topics: Government US, Data Centers

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9 comments
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  • :-)

    ;-)
    kd5auq
  • Pick up the trash at night time

    Neither vehicle headlights nor moonlight are necessary. The lightning from the data center should be plenty.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • They're making LIGHTNING?

      I know this is symbolic, but there is no secret information that could be resolved from the highway. All you get is "look at the big square buildings!" and the NSA could give out POSTCARDS with those pictures and not leak anything. In fact, why not set up a souvenir shop to sell the postcards, refreshments, T-shirts ("My Dad visited the NSA spy database and all I got was this lousy T-shirt" or "NSA - backing up your data since [redacted]"), helping to pay for the operating costs. Plus, they could film and phone-tap people who visit the gift shop. And provide a free wi-fi for the stupidest bunch of "traitors" to use.
      jallan32
      • There's no need to provide free wi-fi

        Why is that?

        "Google knows nearly every Wi-Fi password in the world"
        http://blogs.computerworld.com/android/22806/google-knows-nearly-every-wi-fi-password-world

        And, if Google knows ...
        Rabid Howler Monkey
      • P.S. The three-letter agency is not "making LIGHTNING" on purpose

        It's merely a byproduct.
        Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Respect...

    ...is a two way highway running down the middle of the Camp. Perhaps this author could give some before spouting more FOXy statements.
    GDCM
    • Okay

      I guess you are implying that something you don't like is somehow related to Fox News. That's kind of creative.
      SlimSam
  • Tell me why the NSA

    deserves any respect? they have proven they have none for us.
    winddrift03
  • OK - where are the ...

    Edward Snowden masks??

    1. ES licenses his face for those same kind of masks that the Anonymous people use (from the movie). He makes a killing & finances his life on the run for years to come. (Gets profit in bitcoin, BTW.)
    2. Protesters wear masks; tick NSA employees off
    3. Protesters discover that ticking off the NSA has ... consequences
    4. Rand Paul & others take the recorded evidence of the "consequences" and attempt to cut funding to the NSA
    5. Steven Colbert gets involved, and millions of people think what he is saying is actual news, not what his scriptwriters are making up
    6. Some Hollywood smart guy braves said "consequences" to turn the ruckus into a reality show based on the idea that keeping the surface of the 2 mi. highway past the NSA center clean with toothbrushes and baking soda will produce exciting TV ... when the drones show up!

    A few protesters will die. But, hey ... it's for a good cause, right??
    ClearCreek