Mar. 27, 2012
By John W. Whitehead
“Everybody’s a target; everybody with communication is a target.”
– A senior intelligence official previously involved with the Utah Data Center
In the small town of Bluffdale, Utah, not far from bustling Salt Lake City, the federal government is quietly erecting what will be the crown jewel of its surveillance empire. Rising up out of the desert landscape, the Utah Data Center (UDC) — a $2 billion behemoth designed to house a network of computers, satellites, and phone lines that stretches across the world — is intended to serve as the central hub of the National Security Agency’s vast spying infrastructure. Once complete (the UDC is expected to be fully operational by September 2013), the last link in the chain of the electronic concentration camp that surrounds us will be complete, and privacy, as we have known it, will be extinct.
At five times the size of the U.S. Capitol, the UDC will be a clearinghouse and a depository for every imaginable kind of information — whether innocent or not, private or public — including communications, transactions, and the like. Anything and everything you’ve ever said or done, from the trivial to the damning — phone calls, Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, Google searches, emails, bookstore and grocery purchases, bank statements, commuter toll records, etc. — will be tracked, collected, catalogued, and analyzed by the UDC’s supercomputers and teams of government agents. In this way, by sifting through the detritus of your once-private life, the government will come to its own conclusions about who you are, where you fit in, and how best to deal with you should the need arise.
What little we know about this highly classified spy center — which will be operated by the National Security Agency (NSA) — comes from James Bamford, a former intelligence analyst and an expert on the highly secretive government agency. Bamford’s exposé in Wired, a must-read for anyone concerned about the loss of our freedoms in a technological age, provides a chilling glimpse into the government’s plans for total control, aka total information awareness. As Bamford notes, the NSA “has transformed itself into the largest, most covert, and potentially most intrusive intelligence agency ever created. 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 U.S. and its citizens.”
Supposedly created by the NSA in order to track foreign threats to America, as well as to shore up cybersecurity and battle hackers, the UDC’s technological capabilities are astounding. As the central depository for all of the information gathered by the NSA’s vast spy centers, the UDC’s supercomputers will be capable of downloading data amounting to the entire contents of the Library of Congress every six hours. However, the data being targeted goes far beyond the scope of terrorist threats. In fact, as Bamford points out, the NSA is interested in nothing less than the “so-called invisible web, also known as the deep Web or deepnet — data beyond the reach of the public. This includes password-protected data, U.S. and foreign government communications, and noncommercial file-sharing between trusted peers.”
The loss of privacy resulting from such aggressive surveillance systems highlights very dramatically the growing problem of large public and private institutions in relation to the individual citizen. What we are witnessing, in the name of so-called security and efficiency, is the creation of a new class system comprising the watched (average Americans such as you and me) and the watchers (government bureaucrats, technicians, and private corporations). The growing need for technicians necessitates the bureaucracy. The massive bureaucracies — now computerized — that administer governmental policy are a permanent form of government. Presidents come and go, but the nonelected bureaucrats remain.
The question looms before us. Can freedom in the United States continue to flourish and grow in an age when the physical movements, individual purchases, conversations, and meetings of every citizen are constantly under surveillance by private companies and government agencies?
Whether or not the surveillance is undertaken for “innocent” reasons, does not surveillance of all citizens, even the innocent sort, gradually poison the soul of a nation? Does not surveillance limit personal options — deny freedom of choice — for many individuals? Does not surveillance increase the powers of those who are in a position to enjoy the fruits of this activity? Is not control the name of the game?
Full Article Here – http://original.antiwar.com/jwhitehead/2012/03/27/everybodys-a-target-in-the-american-surveillance-state/