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NSA to Build $1.6 Billion Storage Facility to House Personal Surveillance Data

The National Security Agency is planning to build a $1.6 billion storage facility in Utah to warehouse personal data. The giant facility will contain more than 1 million square feet of data center space. Construction is scheduled to begin in June 2010 and be completed by March 2013. The new facility is estimated to require as much electricity as all of  Salt Lake City. All forms of electronic data will be stored at the center, such as intercepted phone calls, e-mail messages, Internet searches and other communications intercepted by the agency.

The effort was publicly disclosed in early 2008 and is designed to bolster cybersecurity-related awareness and incident response across the federal government. Much of the effort remains highly classified. It is partly an effort by federal agencies to reduce their exposure to Internet-based threats by reducing and consolidating the number of external Internet connections across government.  Instead of having each agency manage its own Internet connections, the plan involves having a small group of  Trusted Internet Connection (TIC) providers administer centralized connectivity and gateway-monitoring services for federal agencies. Critics of the project argue that the collection and permanant storage of such personal data is not necessary for national security purposes and intrudes upon the privacy rights of citizens.

Sources:  http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_12744661