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US state home to new mega-warehouse for data

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Posted June 17, 2013
This June 6, 2013, photo, shows an aerial view of the NSA's Utah Data Center in Bluffdale, Utah. The nation's new billion-dollar epicenter for fighting global cyberthreats sits just south of Salt Lake City, tucked away on a National Guard base at the foot of snow-capped mountains. The long, squat buildings span 1.5 million square feet, and are filled with super-powered computers designed to store massive amounts of information gathered secretly from phone calls and emails. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

This June 6, 2013, photo, shows an aerial view of the NSA’s Utah Data Center in Bluffdale, Utah. The nation’s new billion-dollar epicenter for fighting global cyberthreats sits just south of Salt Lake City, tucked away on a National Guard base at the foot of snow-capped mountains. The long, squat buildings span 1.5 million square feet, and are filled with super-powered computers designed to store massive amounts of information gathered secretly from phone calls and emails. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The new billion-dollar epicenter for fighting global cyberthreats sits just south of Salt Lake City, tucked away on a militia base at the foot of snow-capped mountains. The long, squat buildings are filled with super-powered computers designed to store massive amounts of information gathered secretly from phone calls and emails.

Two small, weathered signs in the sagebrush greet interlopers to this place with a stark warning: “Military reservation. No trespassing.” But there is no visible marker bearing the facility’s name and operator: The Utah Data Center, run by the National Security Agency.

When it opens this autumn, the facility will be the NSA’s largest data storage center in the U.S. Just don’t ask Utah officials, and certainly not the residents of tiny Bluffdale, just north of the new center, to tell you exactly what will go on inside. They either don’t know, or aren’t saying. And the NSA is famously tight-lipped.

“We know it’s a spy center. But who are they spying on?” said Connie Robbins, an upholstery shop owner who lives in Bluffdale, a community of 8,000 south of Salt Lake City that is known for its rodeo and annual Old West Days.

The dearth of information has perpetuated a mystery that has spawned dozens of theories and a spoof website that even includes a phony code name for the facility: “Bumblehive,” a play on Utah’s nickname of the “Beehive State.”

Last week’s revelation that the NSA is collecting millions of U.S. phone records along with digital communications stored by nine major Internet providers illustrates how aggressively personal information is being congregated and analyzed—and shines a brighter light on what will be going on in secret at the Utah facility, scheduled to open in October.

Read more at: Phys.org

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