Forbes Publishes Blueprints Of NSA's Massive Datacenter In Utah

from the well,-look-at-that dept

Kash Hill, over at Forbes has a very impressive scoop: publishing the blueprints to the giant NSA data center in Bluffdale, Utah. While the NSA had been at least mildly public in admitting that the data center existed, it really started to get attention back when James Bamford wrote about the center for Wired. Hill, who actually tried to do a drop in visit to the as-yet-unopened data center (without much luck) a few months ago, somehow got her hands on the blueprints:




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Hill’s article describes in more details what the blueprints show — including the interesting claim that many of the previous estimations of how much data the center could hold may have been wildly off-base (as in the estimates were way, way too high — but the center can still hold a ton of data, and that will only increase as tech improves).

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Comments on “Forbes Publishes Blueprints Of NSA's Massive Datacenter In Utah”

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47 Comments
saulgoodesays:

Re: Re: I do not approve

We should at least be granted access to it. Why should we have to pay for services such as Dropbox or Mega when all those files are being stored in a taxpayer-funded facility? Why should foundations such as Archive.org have to spend millions hosting a few dozen terabytes of data when we’ve are paying for the government to store hundreds of millions times that amount?

Also, what law authorizes the government to make copies of all of the copyrighted works that invariably end up being stored on these servers?

out_of_the_bluesays:

Exactly how have you verified these?

Could be totally fabricated for intentional NSA dis-info, just as the alleged Powerpoint slides that Snowden supplied may be. We don’t know. When you’ve no way to verify or falsify info, don’t believe it at all! — I bet the purpose of this “leak” is to excite weenies into believing they’re getting a glimpse at secrets.

In any case, this is completely useless for regaining our lost privacy.

Take a loopy tour of Techdirt.com! You always end up same place!
http://techdirt.com/
Masnicking: daily spurts of short and trivial traffic-generating items.

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Exactly how have you verified these?

“I bet the purpose of this “leak” is to excite weenies into believing they’re getting a glimpse at secrets.”

Yet you cum over yourself any time someone suggests that your Google conspiracy theories are true, never waiting a second to confirm if any accusation is true (and they’re very often not). Double standards again. You must have been doing some serious yoga over the weekend from the stretching you’ve been doing this week. You could just relax and stop obsessively attacking the site until something defensible appears…

“In any case, this is completely useless for regaining our lost privacy.”

What lost privacy? You just said yourself that you don’t believe that any of the evidence that your privacy has been violated hasn’t been fabricated.

DSsays:

Re: Re: Exactly how have you verified these?

They were published on Forbes.com. The article says so in the title. TechDirt is reporting on a story that Forbes.com posted. Anyone who clicked on the link to the story can verify that yes indeed, Forbes did publish said story.

So not only did TechDirt verify that Forbes.com posted said article, they thoughtfully included the link so a reader can view the original article.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Exactly how have you verified these?

I agree that it is useless for most people. However, if you are planning terror, the blueprints can probably help you quite a bit to maximize damage and casualties… It is a serious security risk and if anything it puts more people working there at risk than the theoretic “people” Snowdens leaks might have risked so far.

If she gets away with this without severe repercussions, we will know that something fishy is going on.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Exactly how have you verified these?

Privacy is wibbly wobbly timey wimey, while national security is the baby that everyone wants to protect to avoid the moniker of traitor. It is simply a lot easier to give politicians hard data on effect of counter-terrorist successes rather than giving data on how much privacy is getting intruded. The main issue is that you need to “breach” privacy to stop terrorism and it will therefore be seen as a collateral for the greater good.

In this case, the threat is a lot more specific and the leak much less useful for joe citizen than Snowdens. But since bigger american corporations and their international reputation is the primary concern of NSA, they are likely to not care about this potential threat to human life.

Anonymoussays:

Nice blueprints. Now ask yourselves: why does the public need to know this? What purpose does releasing this serve?

I get it that people are pissed with the NSA, but, honestly, this isn’t interesting nor relevant. It is a distraction, actually.

Techdirt should focus and stay on topic. This here is irrelevant headline grabbing garbage, spearheaded by Forbes no less.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

I agree with your sentiment, but take it a bit further having worked within a government contractor facility wherein missiles and EO systems of all types were developed and manufactured (virtually all of which are at or near the top of the list of critical munitions and avionics). A key security concern was the public disclosure of facility information in order to forestall possible intrusions into the facility by persons bent on the destruction of manufacturing and product support equipment.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

Being an construction electrical engineer I have had the pleasure of working on power plants, chemical plants, water & sewer, and secure government communication facilities.

As far as the secure government facilities the civil, mechanical, and electrical plans are completely useless to anyone except for finding ones way around the building and the location of the bathrooms and with guards at the gate that information is utterly useless.

As far as any other room area designation, besides mechanical rooms for A/C and restrooms which require plumbing connections, the one thing one can be assured of is that after occupation nothing is as shown on the plans which is not because of some super secret but simply because of bureaucratic power elitist changes which screws up all construction and design drawing even to those with a need to know of how to bill the damn thing.

Bottom under best of bureaucratic conditions all you have here is a basic outline of the building which could be used for any computer related purpose.

That One Guysays:

Re: Re:

‘Now ask yourselves: why does the public need to know this? What purpose does releasing this serve?’

Oh about the same ‘need’ that scooping up every single call/email they can get their hands on serves I’d imagine, that of satisfying people’s endless curiosity, and the same ‘purpose’ for doing the same, that of ‘because they could’.

anonymousesays:

Re: Re:

I think it is funny actually , the NSA suposedly so secret yet there building blueprints can be accessed, maybe this is why it was done to show how silly the whole process is, and if you look at the site where this building is built there is a nice hill to one side just past the building, with funny looking things all over it, looks like sir vents to me but i may be wrong…. I don’t doubt that this building is not massive as people thought it was but where are the plans for the stuff underground, do they seriously think we are that stupid that we do not know there will be many more Rooms underneath this building or next to it under that tiny little hillock.

And just to show how crazy it is to think only those rooms above ground would be used for data storage, most server farms have vaults underground as they are easier to maintain the humidity and temp when it is a constant a few meters down.

FM Hiltonsays:

What's the use?

“Nice blueprints. Now ask yourselves: why does the public need to know this? What purpose does releasing this serve?

I get it that people are pissed with the NSA, but, honestly, this isn’t interesting nor relevant. It is a distraction, actually.

Techdirt should focus and stay on topic. This here is irrelevant headline grabbing garbage, spearheaded by Forbes no less.”

Guess what, you idiot: WE PAID FOR THIS.

We have the RIGHT as taxpayers to see what we’re paying for, even when it’s being used against us in so many ways.

Now go back to your troll cave and shut up.

McCreasays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: What's the use?

Sure it should be transparent. Couldn’t imagine what your reason to hide it. Weapons are deterrents, no need to hide them, you actually want to claim you have more than you do. Also anyone who has been attached to the military has seen foolish wastes of money than could be mitigated simply by knowing they were extra eyes on them. (My first case, $40,000 to deck out the inside of a small prefab in painted Styrofoam for aesthetics purposes only — a coat of black paint would have looked the same; $70 would have been more than enough)

FM Hiltonsays:

Security and that stuff

Sure, we have the blueprints (or so they claim) and we supposedly know what it looks like from those.

Have you ever tried to get into a secured area? Not easy, and I don’t think that the bad guys would try to. In fact, the article states that they did try to get into it, and it wasn’t possible, according to the other linked article:

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130305/03134422200/turns-out-nsa-doesnt-really-want-drop-in-visitors-with-cameras-their-new-utah-spy-facility.shtml

michaelsays:

“Nice blueprints. Now ask yourselves: why does the public need to know this? What purpose does releasing this serve?”

This is NEVER a question that should be asked. The question should always be, “Why SHOULDN’T this information be public? Who will die as a result of this information?”

And if the answer (as in the case here) is no one, release the information. And if the answer is someone, then MAYBE it shouldn’t be released.

This isn’t the government’s facility, or the NSA’S facility. THIS IS THE U.S. TAXPAYERS’ FACILITY.

John Fendersonsays:

Re: Re:

This is NEVER a question that should be asked. The question should always be, “Why SHOULDN’T this information be public? Who will die as a result of this information?”

Precisely this. Secrecy culture in government has become so incredibly toxic that the they treat everything as if it should only be revealed on a need-to-know basis.

That’s completely backwards. We are their employers. If they need to keep secrets from us, they need to justify doing that. We don’t ever need to justify why we should have access to the information.

Chris Brandsays:

Press releases about FISA court orders ?

“the [NSA]… issued a press release on Friday announcing that it got the legal sign-off for a fresh batch of ?telephony metadata in bulk? from companies such as Verizon and AT&T”

Wait a minute – so they are allowed to issue a press report about one of these oh-so-secret orders from the FISA court, but the companies on the receiving end aren’t even allowed to admit that these kind of orders exist ? I thought they said that telling people about these things was “aiding the enemy” or something…

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