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NSA Building $860 Million Data Center In Maryland

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the indifferent-to-your-objections dept.

Data Storage 177

1sockchuck writes "As its current data collection makes headlines, the National Security Agency is continuing to expand its data storage and processing capabilities. The agency recently broke ground on an $860 million data center at Fort Meade, Maryland that will span more than 600,000 square feet. The project will provide additional IT capacity beyond the NSA's controversial Utah data center. The new facility will be supported by 60 megawatts of power and use both air-cooled and liquid-cooled equipment."

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177 comments

All that processing power (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930519)

And they still can't get FIRST POST!

Re:All that processing power (3, Funny)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 10 months ago | (#43930525)

Pfft. We all know you're a double agent, Anonymous Coward. How else can you explain your schizophrenic posting history?!

Re:All that processing power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930647)

I'm a paranoid schizophrenic, you insensitive clod.

Re:All that processing power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43931169)

And why are you persecuting me?

Re:All that processing power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930635)

I would like to suggest that any IP that makes a "First Post" comment have their IP address blocked from even reading /. for at least six months.

Maybe it's a bit draconian, but there must be some way to teach these morons that this is unwanted behavior.

Cue the morons saying since my post contains "First Post" I should be banned as well, though if that's what it takes I'll agree to it.

Re:All that processing power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930767)

I would like to suggest that any IP that makes a "First Post" comment have their IP address blocked from even reading /. for at least six months.

Good luck, I'm behind 7 proxies

Re:All that processing power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930859)

Seven!

(Mickey Mouse cartoon reference)

revolt (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930523)

fuck the nsa

Re:revolt (0)

buswolley (591500) | about 10 months ago | (#43930761)

Your comment has been recorded. I mean, all this surveylance needs data centers to store and process it.

Re:revolt (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 10 months ago | (#43931061)

"surveylance". I like that term.

When you're collecting information on as broad a scale as the Verizon incident, it does come closer to surveying than it does to traditional surveillance.

Re:revolt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43931149)

And they'll use it to "lance" their own citizens...

That's news to me (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930533)

Fat, sedentary American pigs don't care. News at 11.

-- Ethanol-fueled

but no unemployment for displaced workers (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930539)

fuck this shit

Re:but no unemployment for displaced workers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930953)

So do something about it, otherwise bend over and
take it up the ass like you have been most of
your miserable useless loser life.

Re:but no unemployment for displaced workers (3, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 10 months ago | (#43931023)

Unemployed workers have no lobbyists. The security industry does.

Will it run on Oracle ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930545)

Will it run on Oracle ?

Come on american patriots (-1, Troll)

lesincompetent (2836253) | about 10 months ago | (#43930549)

Now you know where to stage your next Oklahoma City.

Re:Come on american patriots (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930627)

wonder how heavily shielded it is and if one could just fry the electronics.

Re:Come on american patriots (5, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#43930989)

I assume you must be either a failing agent provocateur [wikipedia.org] or a nitwit.

Benjamin Franklin said Americans had a republic, if they could keep it.

This is the time work on keeping it by:
- Letters to congress put in the post box
- Voting for a change of representation at the ballot box
- Some time on the soap box.
- Some government employees sitting in front of the jury box.

Suggested topics:
- IRS suppression of legitimate peaceful political opposition groups
- IRS suppression of legitimate peaceful religous groups
- Possible involvement by the FBI, EPA, and OSHA in the above
- IRS seizure of 60,000,000 medical records they are not entitled to in breach of the 4th Amendment
- Unprecedented Justice Department investigation of reporters
- Stonewalling by government officials before congress and refusing to turn over documents
- Attempts by the administration to disarm the public by outlawing weapons seldom used to commit crimes - semiautomatic rifles
- The very wide dragnet by the NSA when considered with the above

Slashdot has had stories on much of that recently. Search for IRS, or AP, etc.

It is legitimate for the NSA to monitor people in direct communication with terrorist groups, and other terrorists*. But this, considered in light of the above is cause for concern. Congress better be doing some good oversight.

* Genuine terrorists trying to bomb, shoot, poison or otherwise kill innocent people, typically in large numbers, with a very broad understanding of innocent.

Re:Come on american patriots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43931065)

Congress better be doing some good oversight.

There's no cure for this kind of blatant stupidity.

Re:Come on american patriots (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#43931163)

Congress can always cut off funds if it turns out to be bad. I don't think I can think of something less useful and more destructive than truck bomb attacks at this point. If you want a republic, congress needs engage in close oversight of what is going on for this sort of activity. It might, might be legitimate, but it is darned suspicious.

There is no good way of predicting what would come next if the republic falls. Getting something better isn't likely. Much worse after a long period of suffering and destruction is what is likely.

When the people inform their legislators, good things can happen. Start writing and calling.

Re:Come on american patriots (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 10 months ago | (#43931171)

There is no oversight for the warrantless stuff. That was the big scam. Previously they could, in an emergency, eavesdrop and get permission from the FISA court later (which sometimes would be denied, even Clinton had stuff denied) but at least it was tracked and recorded for later Congressional review.

This...this is just bullshit. There is no excuse for not even have cursory court review after the fact.

Re:Come on american patriots (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43931021)

No matter what you had in mind, you would only encourage more of this sort of thing.

The problem is much, much larger than a data center. It isn't even confined to the federal government. The problem is a complacent populace, which includes me and you, unless you're actually outraged enough to take some time off work and protest. I know I can't afford that shit.

And that's the real problem. We're geeks who generally care about stuff like privacy, whereas the general populace is on Facebook. But even we're not getting off our asses to do anything. Hell, even here, Richard Stallman and Julian Assange are more often than not ridiculed and slandered.

Re:Come on american patriots (2)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#43931215)

The problem is a complacent populace, which includes me and you, unless you're actually outraged enough to take some time off work and protest. I know I can't afford that shit. . . . But even we're not getting off our asses to do anything.

Stay on your butt and write letters to your representatives, or call, although I understand letters are better. Do that often. That gets their attention. They will probably never see you holding a protest sign.

Be polite. Be professional. Be clear.

Re:Come on american patriots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43931437)

When did it become trolling to state the obvious truth? Oh right been that way for a while now.

Surely (not Shirley) the NSA themselves are keenly aware that their facilities are at the core of US military and governmental power? Given how things function with "cumbersome" topics that's probably why the troll moderator thinks the rest of us aren't meant to acknowledge such a fact openly. The only remaining question is then whether said troll moderator did it for pay or due to indoctrination --either way the rest of us pays.

Sure if you want to mindlessly kill "insignificant" people rather than kill power there might be other targets that in particular are much more suitable to the ordinarily insane and deeply inbred "religion of piss" people^W blatte, but if there was any sliver of truth to their bizarre ramblings on motivation and world domination this is the kind of stuff they would target rather than people out for a run in the streets or commuting to work or drinking themselves senseless in a benign and blessed hindu environment (Bali is hindu).

So are blatte really that stupid? Or are they being used? Jews, socialists, "elite" or <_insert_whatever_here_>? All of the above? Who cares!

I'm a white northern European and like most nerdy or geeky people originally defaulted to being pretty much a fan of the NSA (and the US) and would be perfectly happy with them as long as they stayed within the spirit of the US constitution (which by the way is universal in nature; it encompasses all who adhere to its ideals) --so sadly I guess I now have to downgrade my opinion of them yet again, the same goes for a lot of outright treasonous governments and organisations in the west these days-- however the parent poster should be modded informative and insightful regardless of personal opinions pro or con. //rant mode off

When's Google moving in? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930567)

When is Google going to announce that it's also building a new data center in Fort Meade, Maryland? The NSA and Google data centers tend to be built in pairs.

We have to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930579)

burn this whole thing to the ground for the greater good of humanity.

sequester jester (3, Insightful)

OffTheLip (636691) | about 10 months ago | (#43930601)

Cry me a river. Regardless of how much lip service is given to the current fiscal pain the gov is shouldering there is always a revenue source for pet projects and nothing returned to their source of funds (us taxpayers).

Re:sequester jester (1)

plopez (54068) | about 10 months ago | (#43930957)

Yeah I wonder how many budget hawks mindlessly throw money at anything even vaguely associated with National "Security".

Scott McNealy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930603)

I suspect that 30 years from now, the longtime CEO of Sun Microsystems will be remembered mostly for having said "You have zero privacy now. Get over it" way back in the 1990s, when people were just starting to raise concerns over what Internet companies were doing.

I guess this is just one more example... (1)

Bugler412 (2610815) | about 10 months ago | (#43930617)

of the price of "freedom"

Re:I guess this is just one more example... (1)

plopez (54068) | about 10 months ago | (#43930969)

We had to destroy the Constitution in order to save it. And I don't mean the 2nd amendment. I mean the entire bill of rights as well as the separation of powers.

$860 Million (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930653)

"logging machine"...

Re:$860 Million (4, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 10 months ago | (#43931105)

"logging machine"...

On the contrary, the NSA has some great minds working for them, and they are probably doing some very interesting and useful analysis with all that data. The problem is, what great minds create, can be misused by others.

All this power is supposed to be used to catch terrorists. But now that this database is out in the open, a lot of other folks will find reasons why they must also have access to it.

Think of a simple police detective at the scene of a murder interviewing potential witnesses and suspects. He could immediately get a topology drawn of who knows who, and which ones have been chatting a lot with each other. Usually the poor policeman needs to do a lot of grunt and foot work to map this out. And get warrants for phone records. This would really help his investigation a lot.

But do we really want data collected this way to be used that way . . . ? What will prevent a slippery slide of more and more agencies and organizations getting access to this data for their own purposes . . . ? Can the DEA escalate their war on drugs to also be a matter of national security? This info could also help the IRS track down money launderers as well . . . how about the IRS . . . ?

Now that the government has this "Critical Tool" at their disposal, the more important question is not how can it be used, but how it should not be used.

Re:$860 Million (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43931209)

They have great minds to solve problems. The issue is whether the problems they're solving are meaningful and useful. The people coming up w/ the work to do aren't our best and brightest... they're mostly military brass selling technological solutions to fundamentally socio-political issues.

It's sort of like putting our best pharmacologists, microbiologists, etc on developing the next Viagra. I'm sure it would be fun times, but in the grand scheme of things a waste of effort.

Re:$860 Million (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43931231)

As much as the seven year ongoing call logs infuriates me, it's not as bad as it sounds. Pen tap information from phone companies are easily gotten by law officers and contains no knowledge of the content of the call. The NSA has gotten the pen taps or every phone call with either end inthe US for seven years now, that's almost as much info as facebook has on most people. A clear violation of the 4th ammendment but as long as FISA courts exist the fourth is worthless in areas of National Security.

Re:$860 Million (3, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 10 months ago | (#43931311)

Don't be a fool. Terrorism is not, and never was a threat. More people are killed by cancer every DAY than have been killed by terrorist attacks in this country in all of history. Imagine if they'd used the money from these 2 data centers for cancer research. Either their idiots or their goal has nothing to do with terrorists.

Al Qaeda Buying $0.86 in postage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930665)

Al Qaeda buying $0.86 worth of postage, and getting virtually tamper-proof communication with, one-time-pads and a whole bunch of other stuff that you get when avoiding electronic systems known to be compromised. Just sayin'.

Re: Al Qaeda Buying $0.86 in postage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930763)

Ah but it is routed by computers so the NSA already knows who is sending mail to whom.

Who care if they know what they said as long as you know who they said it to.

Re: Al Qaeda Buying $0.86 in postage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43931003)

If you think they're only tracking the social graph, I have a bridge to sell you...

Well it's good to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930711)

that somebody is going to be backing up the internet! ;-)

Re:Well it's good to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930769)

I've yet to hear a leak from a NSA aggregator, so I'm assuming this is one of the few backup providers that has top notch security.

Now, if they offered a restore function, that would be nice.

Re:Well it's good to see (1)

Antipater (2053064) | about 10 months ago | (#43930801)

Who needs a restore function? You can restore the entire internet with a camera and a cat.

Re:Well it's good to see (1)

vuke69 (450194) | about 10 months ago | (#43930901)

You can extrapolate every conceivable point in every conceivable universe from the brownian motion in a very hot cup of tea, restoring the Internet should be trivial; although it may not be quite as you left it.

Cool! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930745)

Now I won't have to go through the trouble of backing up any of my e-mail!

Re:Cool! (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 10 months ago | (#43931093)

Now I won't have to go through the trouble of backing up any of my e-mail!

Who said they were planning to share all that information? One of the first principles of Top Secret is that even if it's yours, even if it's plastered on lamp-posts all over town, even if it's been made into a popular song being sung all over the world they won't let you see it.

*sigh* Never thought I'd ask, but.. (1)

TigerPlish (174064) | about 10 months ago | (#43930755)

...where do I get a nice tinfoil hat?

It's not paranoia if it's out in the news.....

Re:*sigh* Never thought I'd ask, but.. (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 10 months ago | (#43930843)

This is the canonical source of information regarding tinfoil hats:

http://zapatopi.net/afdb/ [zapatopi.net]

Re:*sigh* Never thought I'd ask, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43931095)

Of course, canonical sources are the first to get subverted. I'd tell you where to get the real info, but then they might find me.

Fixing the problem (5, Interesting)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 10 months ago | (#43930795)

It's become clear that the federal government no longer serves the interests of the people.

Does anyone have suggestions for fixing the problem?

Whenever some "government done did wrong again" article comes up, the comments are all non-constructive: blithe unconcern, fatalism, pessimism, and so on.

What constructive actions can be taken, and how can the people be encouraged to support these actions?

My one idea: If people could band together and agree to vote out the incumbent (senator, representative, president) whenever one of these incidents crop up, there would be incentive for politicians to better serve the people in order to continue in office. This would mean giving up party loyalty and the idea of "lessor of two evils", which a lot of people won't do. Some congressional elections are quite close, so 2,000 or so petitioners might be enough to swing a future election.

(And no, replies of "you won't accomplish anything because of this reason" are not constructive.)

Re:Fixing the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930873)

Here is an idle proposal the likes of 4chan users or anonymous wanna bes might find interesting: flood communications with fake terrorist threats, shady drug exchange, pseudo pedo bear meetings and such. Write botnets or some "legit" application that would render it's user highly suspicious and claim the whole thing is a joke. As they say, good individuals have nothing to hide and won't mind a little surveillance ... and what's not to like in a little role play once in a while. If the current surveillance techniques cannot distinguish real treats from fake ones, if it gives up way too many false leads, perhaps they'll be abandoned their practices and focus on what really matters (health, education and such)

Re:Fixing the problem (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930883)

Tor, I2dP and the likes. Let's build a new common internet over the internet. Full strong anonymity and integrity.

Transform what an eavesdropper would see in a huge cypherpunk clusterfuck.

Taking back what's ours through technology and educated practices.

There is no fatality, even the tools are there already. Let's go back to the 90' where the internet was a place for knowledgeable and cooperative people.

Also die facebook.

Re:Fixing the problem (2)

nrdufour (1339053) | about 10 months ago | (#43930961)

If you go towards that road, then let's go full scale by deploying small wireless routers across the globe creating a real mesh network as internet was designed to be!

Re:Fixing the problem (1)

Gary Perkins (1518751) | about 10 months ago | (#43930895)

That's pretty much it. Status quo isn't going to get the government to change direction. First step will be to replace as many politicians as we can. It'd be nice to see an ad campaign that basically says, even if you don't get to know the people running for election, vote for anyone BUT the incumbent. Once that's accomplished, if nothing changes, then perhaps it's time for a little civil unrest. Civil unrest, while nasty, costs the government time, money, and gets the attention of international media. Makes the politicians look bad. Hopefully those two things will make change, because nobody wants to see the last option come around... meanwhile, I'm in Texas, we'll be long gone by option number 2. ;)

Re: Fixing the problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930897)

http://www.wolf-pac.com

Re:Fixing the problem (3, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about 10 months ago | (#43930899)

A first step might be understanding the extent towards which the government actually disagrees with the people. Are we talking about a situation where the government is enacting unpopular policies that people oppose? Or are we talking about a situation where people support the policies? Because the solutions to those two situations are very different.

In many cases involving "national security", I think the situation is closer to the second one. "Tough on X" policies are quite popular, and politicians often pander to people by enacting them. The USA Patriot Act, for example, was hugely popular when it was passed. And in general, politicians get voted out of office more often for being not "tough" on crime and terrorism and whatever else, than for being too over-the-top in pursuing those policies.

Re:Fixing the problem (1)

nrdufour (1339053) | about 10 months ago | (#43930919)

You clearly need more than 2 political parties and we need more feedback. I like the swiss system where you vote for a lot of decisions, both locally but nationally. Another thing is that so far we take most of those decisions on ideology and/or particular interests. I wouldn't mind looking for other ways in decision making, perhaps more fact grounded ...

Re:Fixing the problem (3, Insightful)

turp182 (1020263) | about 10 months ago | (#43930971)

The Uniparty system we are under is the problem, so swaying the vote would be ineffective. The Repubs and Dems are basically the same, at least when it comes to power and surveillance. Both parties like the power. And abuse it.

  The problem is getting access to high level elections, and coalescing people on a third party. It is a difficult problem.

Re:Fixing the problem (1)

steelyeyedmissileman (1657583) | about 10 months ago | (#43931347)

I have to wonder, though.. what would happen if a substantial portion of voters left the ballot blank when there are only R and D options? Wouldn't an election where a large chunk of the populace pointedly abstained (as opposed to just not voting, which can be mistaken for apathy) make a point? What would it take to get a "None of the Above" option on our ballots?

Re:Fixing the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930977)

Perhaps many of "the people" are simply too naive and unrealistic to determine what is actually in their best interests, at the boundary of security and anonymity.

It's a complex question.

Re:Fixing the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43931013)

Ask the natives of "your" land.

Oh wait, you can't. Those who forget history...

Re:Fixing the problem (3, Interesting)

korgitser (1809018) | about 10 months ago | (#43931069)

My best guess:
1) this kind of sht is morally wrong
2) thus, working for this kind of sht is morally wrong
3) thus, anybody who works for this kind of sht is going to hell, for whatever your value of 'hell'.
4) you might say that 'i need the money from this gig', but
5) anybody who works for this kind of sht is feeding their kids but is at the same time fscking over the kids' future bigtime. Your kids will not forgive you for being the AC IRL.

From this, it should easily emerge that everybody should just stop working for this sht. No workers, no NSA. There needs to emerge a culture and a movement to encourage it. Shame the spineless coward who works for the Man! Shun him or tell him what he does is evil and his country hates him for it. Spread the word!
You, everybody, personally, need to work to push this through. By this time and age it should be obvious that the Man is the real terrorist. Your democratic functions have long since ceased to return value, hoping for change in elections will not do. It will require significant effort from each and every american to repeal this next age of slavery.

Re:Fixing the problem (4, Informative)

Kwirl (877607) | about 10 months ago | (#43931089)

http://anticorruptionact.org/ [anticorruptionact.org]
http://www.ted.com/talks/lawrence_lessig_we_the_people_and_the_republic_we_must_reclaim.html [ted.com]
http://action.fairelectionsnow.org/fairelections [fairelectionsnow.org]
http://represent.us/ [represent.us]
http://www.protectourdemocracy.com/ [protectourdemocracy.com]
http://www.wolf-pac.com/ [wolf-pac.com]
https://www.unpac.org/ [unpac.org]
And many others - someone passed those links on to me and whenever someone asks 'What can we do" I usually reply along those lines.

Re:Fixing the problem (3, Interesting)

Mansing (42708) | about 10 months ago | (#43931097)

Vote them out AND remove their lifetime, taxpayer-funded, free health care.

See how fast the health care system gets fixed.

Re:Fixing the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43931127)

Fortunately the proposed location is between 100 and 200 feet above sea level, so that "60 megawatts of power" will hardly endanger the facility over its lifetime. But I wonder what the Maldivians and Bangladeshi think of it.

Re:Fixing the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43931153)

Many politicians came out today for or against the NSA spying on US citizens without any suspicion at all. It's time to start making a list.

Re:Fixing the problem (1)

femtobyte (710429) | about 10 months ago | (#43931159)

lessor of two evils

An apt Freudian slip for describing our system set up to rent out political influence (through both major parties) to those with the money to pay.

Re:Fixing the problem (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 10 months ago | (#43931183)

What constructive actions can be taken, and how can the people be encouraged to support these actions?

You can start by letting your house and senate rep know how you feel about this issue / patriot act and encourage others you know to do the same.

My one idea: If people could band together and agree to vote out the incumbent (senator, representative, president) whenever one of these incidents crop up, there would be incentive for politicians to better serve the people in order to continue in office.

If enough people let their representivies know how they feel obviously those officials who want to be reelected will tend to take notice. We have seen what happens when wikipedia and google go "dark", congressional switchboards melt and the 180's start to pile up.

(And no, replies of "you won't accomplish anything because of this reason" are not constructive.)

A second track is to offer technical solutions to deny or imede government access to our private information.

Either way consensus building is critically important to a successful outcome.

Re:Fixing the problem (4, Interesting)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 10 months ago | (#43931203)

It's become clear that the federal government no longer serves the interests of the people.

Does anyone have suggestions for fixing the problem?

Whenever some "government done did wrong again" article comes up, the comments are all non-constructive: blithe unconcern, fatalism, pessimism, and so on.

What constructive actions can be taken, and how can the people be encouraged to support these actions?

My one idea: If people could band together and agree to vote out the incumbent (senator, representative, president) whenever one of these incidents crop up, there would be incentive for politicians to better serve the people in order to continue in office. This would mean giving up party loyalty and the idea of "lessor of two evils", which a lot of people won't do. Some congressional elections are quite close, so 2,000 or so petitioners might be enough to swing a future election.

(And no, replies of "you won't accomplish anything because of this reason" are not constructive.)

From what I've seen, local politicians are mostly OK. They may be corrupt, but practicality doesn't get pushed aside by blind partisanship. Moving up to the state level, it's less so, especially recently in my own home state. But since the name recognition for reaching state office generally comes from having first participated at local levels, we could start turning this thing around by considering more carefully the records of those we "promote" to that level. I've seen too many regional/statewide campagins where the reason for voting for the other guy is that "So-and-so is Too Liberal" or "Such-and-such has strong Conservative values". Forget all this Liberal/Conservative, Republican/Democrat, Us/Them crap. Look beyond the narrow issues and the one-size-fits-all solutions and don't vote for the person who reaffirms your strongest prejudices, vote for the person most likely to do actual practical good.

Vote 1-strike-and-you're out. If the person you elect ends up doing the same old thing as everyone else has been doing, vote for someone else next time, even if it's not the ideal person. Even if the other guy makes your skin crawl. One bad choice only makes a difference if all the choices are the same bad choice. That's why we have groups of legislators. Make them all fear for their jobs, because no matter how much you spend on a campaign, if the people don't vote for you, it's no good.

And do it again for the next level up, all the way to the top. We need to stop voting our emotions and vote with our brains. We need to move beyond the same old solutions-that-can't-solve, and it doesn't matter whether the reason they failed was actual flaws in the solution or simply that the solution requires an unrealistic set of circumstances (such as zero opposition) to work.

In the end, we always get the government we deserve, but I'd like to think we deserve better than what we've got.

Re:Fixing the problem (2)

divisionbyzero (300681) | about 10 months ago | (#43931265)

It's become clear that the federal government no longer serves the interests of the people.

Does anyone have suggestions for fixing the problem?

Whenever some "government done did wrong again" article comes up, the comments are all non-constructive: blithe unconcern, fatalism, pessimism, and so on.

What constructive actions can be taken, and how can the people be encouraged to support these actions?

My one idea: If people could band together and agree to vote out the incumbent (senator, representative, president) whenever one of these incidents crop up, there would be incentive for politicians to better serve the people in order to continue in office. This would mean giving up party loyalty and the idea of "lessor of two evils", which a lot of people won't do. Some congressional elections are quite close, so 2,000 or so petitioners might be enough to swing a future election.

(And no, replies of "you won't accomplish anything because of this reason" are not constructive.)

Eliminate the two party duopoly by voting for a third-party candidate.

Re:Fixing the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43931269)

Blindly voting out incumbents will make the problem worse. Only long-time incumbents have amassed enough power and money that they can strike out on their own and buck the party line. All freshmen are dependent on their party apparatus for re-election, and won't step out of line as much. Not that ANYONE really steps out of line all too much, but there are fewer disincentives for incumbents to do it.

I'm afraid the problem is bigger than a simple answer can fix. For the past few years, we haven't even had a real two-party system. We've had one party that has policies and governing principles, and a protest party. If you want government to work for the people, and you don't believe the Democrats are doing it well (if I'm reading the views of the OP correctly), then you do not have another choice right now, because the protest party (Republican) isn't even really interested in governing at all. They are, as some observers have charitably phrased it, "post-policy". Or as others have less-charitably phrased it, "all hat, no cattle". Most voters only need to look back to the last president to see that the protest party can be more dangerous than the party they're protesting.

So the real problem? Money. It's always been money. Take the money out of politics, to the degree that elected representatives no longer have an incentive to screw over their constituents, and they will stop doing it. Full public financing. Tight restrictions on political spending and contributions. All of this will probably involve a constitutional amendment, which (surprise) needs the approval of many elected officials. So, yes, in my opinion, the "we're screwed" camp has a good point. But if you don't want to be this pessimistic, get working now on campaign finance reform. Because it's a hell of a long road, and even in the most optimistic scenario, your kids aren't going to live to see the benefits of it.

Re:Fixing the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43931433)

Work within the system (vote, lobby, etc.)
Educate others
Non-violently resist or refuse to cooperate
Emmigrate
Secede
Revolt

Note that randomly lashing out at targets of opportunity doesn't fall under either of the last two actions. Revolution is probably impossible and inadvisable even if it were. There is so little ability to control what comes after. Secession of a state is a bit out there, but practically feasible. Blind comparisons to the civil war are not relevant here. A serious modern secession attempt would be a completely different animal. You have to have significant support within the state, though, and we aren't anywhere near that yet.

The first three methods are best. Vote for what you actually want, not for the least-worst option. Vote from courage, not from fear. Talk to your circles about why this is important. Work on your own understanding of the principles and on your ability to explain them. Finally, non-violent acts of resistance have the same kind of power as terrorism, but without being self-defeating. They require sacrifice, but so does everything further down the list. Violate a gag order, secretly or publically. Stage a non-violent attempt to free a political prisoner, or to interefere with things like this data collection. It will be illegal and you will be harrassed or imprisoned. But there comes a time when the best among us belong in prison, to show the rest more clearly the nature of the machine.

Re:Fixing the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43931659)

It's become clear that the federal government no longer serves the interests of the people

I'll play devil's advocate for a bit and ask you this. How do you know this?

The interests of the people extends beyond the explicitly stated demands of the government. The TLA's that are universally hated here all fall under one ideology, to look after America's interests. Believe it or not. The problem I'll admit is the veil of secrecy that they operate under is the same obfuscation that would help clear up a lot of their actions as well as undermine their work. As you may have gathered, I work in the Intelligence Community and while I understand your frustration and even anger, most of Congress, for example, were well aware of the Verizon thing for years. Meaning they, and whoever you would vote to replace them, once they are read on and understand what is done from a security respective, would be on board with it too.

BitCoin Mining Rig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930835)

An NSA spooks person said the data center will pay for itself via a custom ASIC super computer that will help generate money for the agency by surpassing 51% of the existing CPU power of the BitCoin network.....

The real question is... (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 10 months ago | (#43930851)

How many Libraries of Congress can it store?

Re:The real question is... (4, Funny)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about 10 months ago | (#43930893)

Given advances in technology, LOC is no longer a clear, effective or sufficient unit of measurement. I propose we move instead to fractions of an NSA data center. Of course, the fraction would approach 1 as one gets near the capacity of the whole internet and all current communications, so it would always be useful.

Re:The real question is... (1)

cosm (1072588) | about 10 months ago | (#43931717)

You sir win 1.0 NSA Data Center Capacities. (NDCC's) for that comment.

Phone calls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930935)

They have to store all of our phone conversations somewhere.

And so it begins... (1)

turp182 (1020263) | about 10 months ago | (#43930939)

Someday in the future:

The NSA can record all communications. They use back-scatter X-ray and medical imaging to read all physical mail correspondence (honey, have you notice the mail delivery has been slower lately?). They know how the unpublished Stephen King novel ends (and begins). And of course all electronic communications are captured. And your phone calls, got it.

But their saving grace is their Public Service Announcement:
Yes, the TSA may be collecting everything, but this isn't Total Information Awareness. We have the Total Information part covered, but we're having a hard time with the Awareness part. So don't worry, be happy.

Re:And so it begins... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930987)

They probably have all of these capabilities today. It's just too EXPENSIVE!

The US is a few years away from collapse. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43930999)

All the resources which are devoted to maintaining power over
US citizens and the locations in other countries which have
become valuable to US-based corporations will be the downfall
of the US.

It happened to the UK, and it happened to Rome, and it will
happen to the US too.

Just wait and see.

JEWS build data centre, more like (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43931029)

Because WHO controls your government? WHO is terrified of being 'found out', and wants to control everything you see and hear on the internet - because they already control the rest of the media.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asGvjbfIASA

Does that sicken you? It should. All those who stood to applaud that Jewish parasite are TRAITORS. Your country is controlled by JEWS, the enemies of all mankind.

Re:JEWS build data centre, more like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43931339)

Your bigotry sickens me.

I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43931057)

What could they possibly need a data center that big for?

Cut Funding to the NSA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43931081)

Please.. Cut Funding to the NSA...

The Orwellian Saga Contiues (1)

genfail (777943) | about 10 months ago | (#43931117)

This makes sense considering the extent of data collection in what appears to be a leak from a Verizon employee on all caller data from all calls made in the US. Since we can assume that all carriers have received similar secret orders to turn over all customer data they would need to expand their data processing capability.

This on top of the Cellphone records being searche (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43931201)

What a joke. What a waste of money. This is all to scan everyone emails and phone records.

Republicans and Democrats hand in hand.

Where does the money come from? (4, Insightful)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about 10 months ago | (#43931309)

I thought that the US was in debt so far that they're defaulting on the bonds they sold to China? And the government has 860 million to throw around just to find out where their citizens are eating lunch?

It's amazing that this data centre is worth more to the US government that financial liquidity.

Re:Where does the money come from? (2)

jeff4747 (256583) | about 10 months ago | (#43931749)

The thing to remember about people freaking out about the deficit is that they don't give a damn about the deficit.

What they're concerned about is their political aims. At the moment, freaking out about the deficit serves their political aims. But the exact same people cheerfully expanded our debt from $5T to $11T during the Bush administration.

As with all politicians, don't pay attention to what they say. Pay attention to what they do over time.

The current building is nearly full... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43931345)

So let's just buy a new one and store everything indefinately (for at least 200 years) - every phone call, every email, every communication of all types, and all that video footage from our hundreds of satellites and drones and cameras in the country... Privacy is gone and will never come back.

New York Times Slams Obama Today for Spying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43931397)

"The administration has now lost all credibility. Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it. That is one reason we have long argued that the Patriot Act, enacted in the heat of fear after the 9/11 attacks by members of Congress who mostly had not even read it, was reckless in its assignment of unnecessary and overbroad surveillance powers." New York Times Editorial, June 6, 2013

Nice to hear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43931431)

I drive by this ever day to and from work. There is a huge construction entrance off the highway... Nice to finally know what's going there.

electricity (2)

zeldor (180716) | about 10 months ago | (#43931449)

where the @#^( are they getting this much electricity? are there secret nuclear power plants on the east coast?

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