NSA Supercenters to Store Americans’ Private Data Permanently

Posted on November 13, 2009


By Thomas R. Eddlem

October 29, 2009 “New American” — The National Security Agency is building huge new storage facilities to store the unconstitutionally gained data on the American people’s telephone calls and Internet traffic permanently, including new buildings in suburban Salt Lake City, Utah, and San Antonio, Texas.

The NSA has been keeping permanent records of all American’s telephone call habits and Internet traffic since shortly after September 11, 2001, according to major news reports, without the constitutionally required warrants from a court.

No longer able to store all the intercepted phone calls and e-mail in its Ft. Meade, Maryland, headquarters, the NSA is engaging in its own housing boom. How much data will these giant, multibillion dollar new facilities hold? According to James Bamford of the New York Review of Books, the facility in Utah alone could hold data that will be measured in Yottabytes. Never heard of Yottabytes? You’re not alone. Most computers sold at stores still measure their storage at gigabytes, or billions of bits of data. A few store a terrabyte of information, or one trillion bits of information. That’s 1,000,000,000,000 pieces of information. Yottabytes is the highest number that has yet been named in computer information. The number is septillions of billions of bits of data, or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bits of data.

In his review of Matthew M. Aid’s new book on the NSA, The Secret Sentry: The Untold History of the National Security Agency, Bamford noted that the NSA assault on the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment has taken place without public opposition or even public debate. “Unlike the British government, which, to its great credit, allowed public debate on the idea of a central data bank,” Bamford wrote, “the NSA obtained the full cooperation of much of the American telecom industry in utmost secrecy after September 11.” And when the British government held that debate, the people rose up against such a “big brother”-style plan:

When the plans were released by the UK government, there was an immediate outcry from both the press and the public, leading to the scrapping of the “big brother database,” as it was called. In its place, however, the government came up with a new plan. Instead of one vast, centralized database, the telecom companies and Internet service providers would be required to maintain records of all details about people’s phone, e-mail, and Web-browsing habits for a year and to permit the government access to them when asked. That has led again to public anger and to a protest by the London Internet Exchange, which represents more than 330 telecommunications firms.

Not so in America, where economically challenged communities are welcoming the multibillion dollar construction work to create the facilities. Freedom can be traded for temporary prosperity, according to local officials in Utah, as reported by a news segment on KSL, Salt Lake City’s NBC affiliate. [Please click here to read the remainder of the whole article]