Saturday, March 24, 2012

Surveillance gone amuck

I wish the above description was a trailer for a futuristic sci fi movie of surveillance gone amuck, but sadly, it is real. Check it out~

1 Geostationary satellites

Four satellites positioned around the globe monitor frequencies carrying everything from walkie-talkies and cell phones in Libya to radar systems in North Korea. Onboard software acts as the first filter in the collection process, targeting only key regions, countries, cities, and phone numbers or email.

2 Aerospace Data Facility, Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado

Intelligence collected from the geostationary satellites, as well as signals from other spacecraft and overseas listening posts, is relayed to this facility outside Denver. About 850 NSA employees track the satellites, transmit target information, and download the intelligence haul.

3 NSA Georgia, Fort Gordon, Augusta, Georgia

Focuses on intercepts from Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. Codenamed Sweet Tea, the facility has been massively expanded and now consists of a 604,000-square-foot operations building for up to 4,000 intercept operators, analysts, and other specialists.

4 NSA Texas, Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio

Focuses on intercepts from Latin America and, since 9/11, the Middle East and Europe. Some 2,000 workers staff the operation. The NSA recently completed a $100 million renovation on a mega-data center here—a backup storage facility for the Utah Data Center.

5 NSA Hawaii, Oahu

Focuses on intercepts from Asia. Built to house an aircraft assembly plant during World War II, the 250,000-square-foot bunker is nicknamed the Hole. Like the other NSA operations centers, it has since been expanded: Its 2,700 employees now do their work aboveground from a new 234,000-square-foot facility.

6 Domestic listening posts

The NSA has long been free to eavesdrop on international satellite communications. But after 9/11, it installed taps in US telecom “switches,” gaining access to domestic traffic. An ex-NSA official says there are 10 to 20 such installations.

7 Overseas listening posts

According to a knowledgeable intelligence source, the NSA has installed taps on at least a dozen of the major overseas communications links, each capable of eavesdropping on information passing by at a high data rate.

8 Utah Data Center, Bluffdale, Utah

At a million square feet, this $2 billion digital storage facility outside Salt Lake City will be the centerpiece of the NSA’s cloud-based data strategy and essential in its plans for decrypting previously uncrackable documents.

9 Multiprogram Research Facility, Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Some 300 scientists and computer engineers with top security clearance toil away here, building the world’s fastest supercomputers and working on cryptanalytic applications and other secret projects.

10 NSA headquarters, Fort Meade, Maryland

Analysts here will access material stored at Bluffdale to prepare reports and recommendations that are sent to policymakers. To handle the increased data load, the NSA is also building an $896 million supercomputer center here.

1 Visitor control center

A $9.7 million facility for ensuring that only cleared personnel gain access.

2 Administration

Designated space for technical support and administrative personnel.

3 Data halls

Four 25,000-square-foot facilities house rows and rows of servers.

4 Backup generators and fuel tanks

Can power the center for at least three days.

5 Water storage and pumping

Able to pump 1.7 million gallons of liquid per day.

6 Chiller plant

About 60,000 tons of cooling equipment to keep servers from overheating.

7 Power substation

An electrical substation to meet the center’s estimated 65-megawatt demand.

8 Security

Video surveillance, intrusion detection, and other protection will cost more than $10 million.
Source: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Conceptual Site plan

From Wired Magazine:

"This complex will be filled with servers, computer intelligence experts, and armed guards. These newcomers to Bluffdale, Utah will be secretly capturing, storing, and analyzing vast quantities of words and images hurtling through the world’s telecommunications networks.
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.” It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.
The upshot,: “Everybody’s a target; everybody with communication is a target.”
In the process—and for the first time since Watergate and the other scandals of the Nixon administration—the NSA has turned its surveillance apparatus on the US and its citizens. It has established listening posts throughout the nation to collect and sift through billions of email messages and phone calls, whether they originate within the country or overseas. It has created a supercomputer of almost unimaginable speed to look for patterns and unscramble codes. Finally, the agency has begun building a place to store all the trillions of words and thoughts and whispers captured in its electronic net. And, of course, it’s all being done in secret. To those on the inside, the old adage that NSA stands for Never Say Anything applies more than ever."

What has become of our America? Has the government absolutely gone off the deep end with some kind of sick Spy v Spy real life comic? I mean the economy is so bad, most people are spending much of their lives scrambling to just stay afloat. As the cost of living soars & wages do not, most folks are spinning their wheels in the sands of financial hardship realities.

The TSA is busy "touching people's junk", and wasting time & money doing things like patting down babies in diapers, kids in wheelchairs & Grandmother's in Depends. Common sense is long gone in these hyper scrutiny security programs. A baby in Huggies is worthy of some big to do @ the airport while a vigilante who shot a kid dead in Florida is free to walk away because an adult armed with a gun feels threatened by not just any kid ,  a black kid armed with Skittles candy? Did I mention he was wearing a Hoodie? Because some nutcase pseudo "journalists" say THAT is the root cause of the problem. Because if it were a white, blonde girl wearing a hoodie, she would have been shot too? And the all white police department agreed it was justified, self defense. No need to take the shooter's gun, or test him for drugs & alcohol. Homeland security, my ass.

Kids should not be gunned down on the streets, regardless of the color of their skin, or what kind of shirt they are wearing. In Geraldo's mind, we just need a ban on hoodies? Because racism, and guns in the wrong people's hands are not the problem.

The "NCTC",  the National Counterterrorism Center now has the green light to be in full swing. They can now store information about Americans with no ties to terrorism up to five years under new Obama admin guidelines.
One of the huge selling points (for me) for the then Obama candidacy, before the 2008 election, was the fact Barack Obama is a Constitutional Scholar. He chose Civil Rights & Community Organizing, as opposed to Hillary Clinton, who chose Corporate law. I considered those choices they made, gave insight to the "before the spotlight", true spirit & spoke to the ethics of the candidates. But now President Obama has carried on with many of the G.W. Bush policies I (wrongly) assumed a Constitutional Scholar would never allow. Instead, President Obama continued with warrantless wiretapping, and new rules that are a vast expansion of the government's surveillance authority.

To those fully authorized government surveillance authorities- I am not a threat. I live a pretty boring 99%er lifestyle, struggling to make ends meet, a non violent pacifist, Mom & one who loves freedom, democracy, and upholding the Constitution. I honestly think the vast majority of data gathering will be a huge waste of time. Do we really need government files documenting the Smith's needing new gutters, and the Jones family toilet is leaking? They can document how many times one spouse asks the other to pick up milk or bread on the way home from work. Riveting "top security" stuff. Total waste of time, resources & money.

If the surveillance people really are listening in, then here is the list you can document:

• Fund education. We don't want to hear speeches about "Our Sputnik Moments"- have enough teachers & books, and make higher education affordable.  Intelligent citizenry is a sound investment.

• Defund wars. Whatever the hell the mission was, it's over. We have soldiers going off the deep end with PTSD & frankly, if the bad ass superpower can't wrap it up in 10 years in Afghanistan, we have no business being there.

• Fund Veterans. We are going to have a whole lot of Vets with serious physical & mental health issues. Any war funding must include post war Vet care. We asked them to put their lives on the line, we owe it to them. Stop pretending PTSD is not a real & serious issue.

• Respect your elders. Don't tell us extreme cutbacks are needed for Social Security & Medicare & such- those are the safety nets, and people have paid into those funds all their working lives.
Bilking elders of these entitlements (because they are entitled to the benefits) is literally generational theft. The Data center electric bill alone will cost $40 million a year. Don't spend billions to spy on citizens for no reason at all, then tell us there's just no money for important actual needs.

In closing, billions were spent on these spy centers. Are we more safe? Do Americans get the healthcare they need? Is Social Security actually secure? Are we going to be mad as hell when the Government announces people will need to work till we are 80  years old to retire, because the funds for Social Security are just not available? The government pissed away spent huge sums on an Iraq embassy that is too unsafe to inhabit, and bunker surveillance complexes as if money were no object, and built above any, arguably, more important  priorities. We have every right to be pissed off, that the people's money is being spent & wasted in such an unconstitutional way.

In case anyone forgot-- the Bill of Rights:

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment IV (4)
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.

Amendment X (10)
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Read more here & there.

 What would you add to the list?


Jerry Critter said...

Whatever happened to probable cause? I think it has become "if you are not doing anything wrong, why are you worried if they are listening to you".

Fran said...

Hi Jerry ~ That or "You have the right to be surveilled"
But apparently, paranoia runs deep, and is costly, and makes ordinary citizens into suspects, for no reason at all.
I do believe for the majority of all this hyper monitoring, they will find us to be very lackluster in providing juicy leads.

Life As I Know It Now said...

The more I know the more depressed I get. America the free probably never existed ever but we were closer to that ideal in the 60s and 70s.

D.K. Raed said...

And now, right on cue, as soon as I saw your headline, I can't really read your post. Damn Blogger won't move down except in fits and starts. Maybe it's my computer since it's physically near UDat (if so, they can wiretap my ass to see if I consumed any of moroni's angelfood cake last night). I hope merely posting about this stuff didn't cause an extra filter to be slapped on you! I'm so sorry Fran. I guess we all need to remember, wiretapping starts at home!

Fran said...

Life: It's surreal, but her real life consequence is WE THE PEOPLE are paying for it. Honestly, if such a thing were to be voted on by people, it would never have been built. Casting this huge net to find someone doing something wrong is illegal searching.

DK ~ Nah I don't think so. No covert action taking your puppy to the dog park, or me chatting about toilet repair & the need for a new floor. Far as I know, still OK to do those things in the "Land of the Free".
Yes it is fair game for me to say I resent the fact they are spending so much on all this, and will pass the buck to us by cheating seniors out of cost of living Soc Security wages & short changing our Grandparents on Medicare coverage.
I think those items fall under the 1st Amendment " redress of grievances."
We can air our grievances, but the billions are already allocated, i.e. taken from the people.
So yes when they tell us the retirement age will be bumped to infinity & beyond, I will not be a happy camper, knowing huge sums of money were squandered on this kind of bullshit.