Three whistleblowers – all former employees of the National Security Agency (NSA) – have come forward to give evidence in the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF’s) lawsuit against the government’s illegal mass surveillance program, Jewel v. NSA.

Comments on this post included suggestions on ways around it. Well, forget it. The further you get into this next article from a few months ago, the full impact will hit you on how irrelevant those methods will shortly be.

Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.”
[...]
Breaking into those complex mathematical shells like the AES is one of the key reasons for the construction going on in Bluffdale. That kind of cryptanalysis requires two major ingredients: super-fast computers to conduct brute-force attacks on encrypted messages and a massive number of those messages for the computers to analyze.



  1. Simple Man says:

    What bothers me is the way all this collected data will be used, protected, distributed and interpreted by authorities.

    Who will be on the “exceptions list”?

  2. bobbo, the shade wearing optimist says:

    If they can stop spam, it might be worth it.

  3. dadeo says:

    Seems to parallel DRM in the way treats all users like crooks while the real crooks easily skirt the tech with encryption like pgp.

    • bobbo, given the scrutiny, the reforming optimist says:

      Does DRM matter if there is a “back door” in the CPU?

      The message is clear: we must all give up our evil ways and treat the WWW/computer as an open window with a 12 foot neon sign outside saying “Look at Me!”

      Could even be a saving Grace?

      • SchwettyBalls says:

        I am less worried about the CPU backdoor as much as the 2000 counterfeit Cisco switches that the US Government bought from the Chinese that have the same function built in.

  4. If you split the encrypted data randomly and store it at different locations, it is not subject to brute force attack. They did this in the bible. Not that I believe a fucking thing in the bible…

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      I thought the written word of Dog was further protected by using Ancient Summarian Backwards Speak? You know!:–Kill your first born, sell your daughters into slavery, kill everyone in town… and so forth. Obvious a trick for the evil ones, the righteous having the Holy Spirit decoding the right word in each chosen persons ear.

      Flood and stupidity for everyone else.

    • tcc3 says:

      Yes, that Asherah virus is a bitch

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_crash

  5. NewformatSux says:

    Under ObamaCare everyone is required to have health insurance, which means government bureaucrats have access to all your health care details.

    • SchwettyBalls says:

      I love the fact that the republicans have turned those that most need health care against getting it. The toothless, overweight, diabetes having, unintelligent gitmo nation employees yell “KEEP OUT OF MY BUSINESS and don’t force me to have good health” appropriately followed by “They took er’ jobs!.” Bravo Republicans, bravo insurance lobbyists for ALMOST making America a worse place.

      • Guyver says:

        America never became great under socialism.

        Following the Europeans will certainly seal the fate of America’s future into mediocrity.

  6. deowll says:

    One of these days Congress is going to find out it has turned so much power over to the executive that it is no longer needed.

  7. SchwettyBalls says:

    After the “Patriot Act” what does all of this matter anyway? Repeal that before you do anything else.

  8. ECA says:

    For anyone that has done even alittle Puzzle solving, wheres waldo, to the Ny times..
    How many ways could you create a way to talk to someone, and NOT have others listen.
    Consider that Every game will add about 20-40% to your ping.
    Every Chat program will add another 10-20% ping.
    On and on…
    It will be system lag..the time Thru each computer will increase. to be compared with other computers..
    Even if they only scan Text and Chat.

    ALL this for what??
    is for What happened in the past?? A couple hundred Dis-associated people??
    HOW about something we are going to do in the FUTURE??
    Also I hope everyone gets the idea that this is Illegal in other countries(to monitor THEM) and it will mostly be REQUIRED in the USA.
    I also like the idea that its being installed in a LOW density area, near mormans, as far away from Washington DC as possible.

  9. AdmFubar says:

    wanna have better laugh at your “government”

    check out the constitution of iraq, the usa wrote most of it…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Iraq

    make sure you check the rights a freedoms section.

  10. John S says:

    Why don’t the NSA just monitor Facebook? Its cheaper and you get just as much useless information.

    • orchidcup says:

      Yep. Everyone is upfront and honest on Facebook.

      I wonder how many accounts on Facebook are completely bogus.

    • Glenn E. says:

      N.S.A. stands for Nothing’s Secret Anymore. Or… Nothing’s Sacred Anymore. Depending on what you value. Because that’s what they want to know. What’s of value? And how to get control of it?

  11. pedro says:

    Privacy? You mean that thing that gets in the way of my kewl iTunes app store and my google market?

  12. Alexander says:

    Paranoia! This can only end in a good way.

  13. jim g says:

    Don’t like it? Then turn the computer off. Unplug from the internet. Get rid of the phone. The Amish have the right idea.
    No electronics, no way the government can spy on you.
    And how are you all liking this “change you can believe in”? Do you believe it yet?

  14. Jose says:

    Sounds like the government will have the world’s largest pron collection.

  15. Glenn E. says:

    This “system” is about the government spying on Joe Blow. It’s about corporations carrying out industrial espionage, against any and all competition, world wide. And getting the American taxpayers to foot the bill for it. Because just like the space program. Why should the commercial contractors pay for any of it. Why they can con the public into paying for it. While they will the ones mostly using it, for free. Privatization? It will never happen, until the taxpayers have paid for it all. And the corporations just waltz in a take it over. Just like the large ISPs have taken over the old DARPA net, after US tax dollars built it strategic use. And turned it into the internet, with reimbursing the cost of the infrastructure, to the public. That’s how Privatization works.

    This secret Utah based system will become the research tool of every large corporation that wants to stay ahead of it competition, by snooping and cracking into their business dealing. They’ve likely been doing that for years, with the Echelon system. If was really for stopping terrorists. Then 9-11 never would have happened. But it did, so they weren’t use it for that. But what’s been the target of their surveillance, these past decades, that they were monitoring? Whatever carries the highest price tag, in the business world. It’s mainly snooping for hire.

    They’re not going to waste all that electronics worrying about grandma Smith secret recipe for homemade apple pie. They will be targeting anyone and everyone who effects the stock market, significantly. Who threatens the defense corporations’ bottom line. Who complicates world currency and trade. Who wheels and deals in oil. And maybe if there’s time to spare. Whoever is making waves politically, for the party system. But spying on the average citizen? I find that highly unlikely. Not unless they run for public office, and threaten NOT to play ball with those already there. The vast majority of the rest of us, aren’t important enough to waste the resources of this system, in recording and analyzing our emails. Encrypted or not.

    Focusing all that computational power on a relatively tiny percentage of the world population, that controls 95% of the wealth. Ensures the highest possible success in knowing what’s going to happen. That gives those who sign up for this cyber intelligence, to succeed financially. They’re not going to pay to know what Joe Blow eats for dinner. Or who he’s shagging behind his wife’s back. Nor even if he’s organizing a Save the Whales movement, that might slightly inconvenience some big company. No, the only thing we need ask is who gets to see this intelligence, and how are they profiting from it? Because it’s insider trading gone mad, at taxpayers’ expense.

    • Glenn E. says:

      Correction: “This “system” ISN’T about the government spying on Joe Blow” (sorry about that).

  16. jpfitz says:

    All of this monitoring is due to some crazies attacking the USA on 9/11. The Brits has a similar experience on 7/7. Ten years on and the liberties of citizens are being squashed like bugs, imagine the next ten years. The govt in charge when this snowball started rolling has hijacked this country. The takeover was planned and a concerted effort to get the fearful and vengeful to react. Ask the people you meet in your home town if they are aware of the NSA building a super spy data center in Utah, that will record their texts or phone conversations.

    “Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”

    • orchidcup says:

      All men having power ought to be mistrusted.

      Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of freedoms of the people by gradual and silent encroachment of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.

      The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.

      If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.

      Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad.

      – James Madison (1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President

    • orchidcup says:

      No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders.

      – Samuel Adams (1722-1803), was known as the “Father of the American Revolution.”

    • orchidcup says:

      Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of the day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers (adminstrators) too plainly proves a deliberate, systematic plan of reducing us to slavery.

      Government can do something for the people only in proportion as it can do something to the people.

      Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us.

      If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.

      Above all things I hope the education of the common people will be attended to, convinced that on their good sense we may rely with the most security for the preservation of a due degree of liberty.

      – Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President

    • orchidcup says:

      The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position.

      Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.

      Occupants of public offices love power and are prone to abuse it.

      Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of Liberty abused to licentiousness.

      The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.

      The foundation of our Empire was not laid in the gloomy age of Ignorance and Superstition, but at an Epoch when the rights of mankind were better understood and more clearly defined, than at any former period.

      – George Washington (1732-1799) Founding Father, 1st US President, ‘Father of the Country’

    • orchidcup says:

      Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

      Make yourselves sheep and the wolves will eat you.

      It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.

      We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.

      Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

      – Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) US Founding Father

      • pedro says:

        Please let’s give a round of applause to the lord of copy & paste.

        Now I know you didn’t own the first iphones

  17. Milo says:

    Terrorist, bomb, herion, death to the USA!

    We’ll see who gets tired of this first government ;-)

    I just have to do it randomly now and then, you have to do all the analysis to figure out whether you can afford to go after me!

    • orchidcup says:

      Our Constitution is in actual operation; everything appears to promise that it will last; but in this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.

      – Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) US Founding Father

  18. sargasso_c says:

    I for one, welcome our new online information overlords!