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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/16/14

Utah -- Achilles' Heel of the Surveillance State

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Source: AntiWar

"Turn it off!" campaign targets the NSA's Utah Data Center

(Image by Off Now)   Details   DMCA

The movement to end the Surveillance State is finally getting serious. With the failure by Congress to rein in the NSA -- although the heroic Rep. Justin Amash nearly succeeded in doing so -- activists on the state level are mounting a campaign that promises to hit Big Brother where it really hurts -- by cutting off the NSA's water supply at its Bluffdale, Utah, Data Center.

A bill introduced in the Utah legislature by state representative Marc Roberts (R-Santaquin) would cut off the water supply to the NSA's massive facility which will gobble up 1.7 million gallons of water per day -- in a state already hit hard by a region-wide drought.

What do they need all that water for? To cool the mega-computers housing the NSA's huge store of intercepted data -- virtually all the emails transmitted in the country and beyond, including phone calls and our all-important "meta data." The heavily fortified Data Center will store all this purloined information in four halls, each 25,000 square feet, with an additional 900,000 square feet for bureaucratic high mucka-mucks and their administrative and technical peons. The electricity bill alone is estimated at $40 million annually.

The people of Utah, however, are having second thoughts about having this monster in their midst.

"If you want to spy on the whole world and American citizens, great, but we're not going to help you," says Roberts.

The Roberts bill is part of a nationwide "Nullify the NSA" campaign spearheaded by the OffNow Coalition, a politically diverse group -- including, one of the founding members -- that is pushing model legislation already introduced in 15 states and counting: if passed, these bills would not only forbid local publicly owned water utilities from servicing the NSA, but would also stop any sort of cooperation and/or subsidies from going to the spy agency -- including in the educational sphere. The University of Utah, which is publicly funded, has been sucking up to the NSA in order to qualify for grants and has even recently inaugurated a new course on "data management" at the NSA's suggestion. But the University of Utah chapter of Young Americans for Liberty is on their case, along with Roberts -- and a good number of state legislators of both parties.

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