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Musk defends receiving $4.9 billion in government support for Tesla, SolarCity and SpaceX

RT | June 1, 2015

Tesla CEO Elon Musk defended the backing his companies get from state and federal sources as legitimate business practices, blasting a newspaper report about government subsidies as “inexcusable” and inaccurate.

According to the report published by the Los Angeles Times over the weekend, Musk’s companies – Tesla, SolarCity and SpaceX – have received an estimated $4.9 billion in government support in total over the years.

The electric entrepreneur didn’t deny the company gets the incentives, however he went on CNBC’s Power Lunch show on Monday, blasting the report as “incredibly misleading and deceptive to the reader.”

“Musk and his companies’ investors enjoy most of the financial upside of the government support, while taxpayers shoulder the cost,” wrote the LA Times, adding that public records show “a common theme running through his emerging empire: a public-private financing model underpinning long-shot start-ups.”

“The article makes it seem as though my company is getting some huge check, which is fundamentally false,” said Musk.

The subsidies have been disclosed in the companies’ filings and public records, but no one has tallied all the various forms of public assistance over time, the paper said. Its estimates of subsidies are based on state and federal records, interviews with local and state officials, credit analysts, and watchdog groups.

According to the LA Times, Tesla Motors has received $2.391 billion in government subsidies, while SolarCity has received $2.516 billion. Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), a private company that does not publicly report financial performance, received $20 million in local incentives and rebates for a space launch facility in Texas.

Among the examples cited by the paper was a $750 million solar panel factory in Buffalo, New York, which Musk’s SolarCity leased for $1 a year. The company will also not pay property taxes for a decade, amounting to $260 million in savings.

Tesla is getting $1.3 million from Nevada to build a battery factory near Reno, and has received more than $517 million from other automakers by selling environmental credits, known as carbon offsets.

Though after ten years in business Tesla and SolarCity still operate at a net loss, the stocks of both companies are riding high on future potential, the LA Times reported. … Full article

June 1, 2015 Posted by | Corruption | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nearly 200 scientists warn of cellphone health risks

RT | May 13, 2015

Biological and health scientists from Russia and Iran to the USA are calling on the UN, the World Health Organization and national governments to develop strict regulations concerning devices and cellphones that create electromagnetic fields.

The scientists are from 39 nations and have authored 2,000 peer-reviewed papers on the health and biological effects of non-ionizing radiation, which is part of the electromagnetic field spectrum. In a letter, they say that devices like cellphones pose risks of cancer, genetic damage, changes in reproductive system, and learning and memory deficits.

“Putting it bluntly they are damaging the living cells in our bodies and killing many of us prematurely,” said Dr. Martin Blank, from the Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics at Columbia University, in a video message.

“We have created something that is harming us, and it is getting out of control. Before Edison’s light bulb there was very little electromagnetic radiation in our environment. The levels today are very many times higher than natural background levels, and are growing rapidly because of all the new devices that emit this radiation.”

One example that was cited is the cellphone. Blank pointed to a study which showed that as cellphone usage has spread widely, the incidence of fatal brain cancer in younger people has more than tripled.

The scientists see the unregulated use of radio frequency radiation in cellphones and Wi-Fi as developing into a public health crisis. Blank said biologists and scientists are not being heard from committees that set safety standards, that safety limits are much too high and that biological facts are being ignored.

“They are not protective,” he added. “We are really all part of large biological experiment without our informed consent. To protect ourselves, our children, and our ecosystem, we must reduce exposure by establishing more protective guidelines.”

Scientists are appealing to the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) to “convene and fund an independent multidisciplinary committee to explore the pros and cons of alternative to current practices that could substantially lower human exposure to RF and ELF fields.”

They request that the deliberations be “transparent and impartial,” and involve industry players in the field. However, scientists believe industry “should not be allowed to bias the process or conclusions.” Once completed, the analysis would offer the UN and WHO a guide for precautionary action.

Questions have surfaced about the safety of EMF among the scientific community and with the public, but it is largely absent from national debate despite the ubiquitous use of devices, particularly in the United States.

“…In the United States, where non-industry-funded studies are rare, where legislation protecting the wireless industry from legal challenges has long been in place…to suggest it might be a problem – maybe, eventually, a very public-health problem – is like saying our shoes might be killing us,” wrote journalist Christopher Ketchum in a 2010 GQ article called “Warning: Your Cell Phone May Be Hazardous to Your Health.”

Ketchum said a 2008 study sponsored by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in France reported that after a decade of cellphone use, the chances of getting a brain tumor – specifically on the side of the head where you use the phone – go up as much as 40 percent for adults.

Read more: ​Berkeley to vote on ‘right to know’ law on cellphone radiation risks

May 13, 2015 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

FDA fails to report fraud in clinical trials – study

RT | February 10, 2015

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) routinely fails to report evidence of fraud or misconduct when it inspects the way researchers conduct clinical trials, leaving the public unaware of which research is credible and which isn’t.

Researchers at New York University found that in dozens of published papers where the FDA had uncovered faults in clinical trials, only three ever indicated that violations occurred. In a stem cell trial, for example, all patients were said to have experienced improvement – despite one having a foot amputated.

The New York University study examined 57 clinical trials that received a notice of violation from the FDA for poor record keeping, false information, and poor patient study. Researchers found that findings from those clinical trials were used in 78 published papers – but only in three instances were the faults in the clinical trials mentioned in the papers.

In the other cases, none of the published papers containing data from faulty trials were corrected or retracted.

“These are major things,” Professor Charles Seife, the study’s author, told Reuters. “No one really knows unless you go through these documents that anyone is question the integrity of the trials.”

In one case, an entire clinical trial was considered unreliable by the FDA, but the published paper didn’t mention the violation at all. In another trial, researchers covered up a patient’s death.

Of the 57 published clinical trials, 39 percent had evidence of false information, 25 percent reported adverse events, 61 percent had record keeping problems, and 35 percent failed to protect the safety of the patient or had issues with oversight or informed consent.

“The FDA has repeatedly hidden evidence of scientific fraud not just from the public, but also from its most trusted scientific advisers, even as they were deciding whether or not a new drug should be allowed on the market,” Seife wrote at Slate. “For an agency devoted to protecting the public from bogus medical science, the FDA seems to be spending an awful lot of effort protecting the perpetrators of bogus science from the public.”

Seife said his team could have uncovered even more instances from the 600 clinical trials mentioned in the documents, but most of the documents obtained from the FDA were heavily redacted. “In some cases, you can’t even tell which drug is being tested,” he said.

Every year, the FDA inspects several hundred clinical sites performing biomedical research on human participants and occasionally finds evidence of violations of good clinical practices and misconduct. The study said, however, that the FDA has no systematic method for communicating these findings to the scientific community, and its findings go unremarked in peer-reviewed literature.

In a statement to Reuters, the FDA said it is “committed to increasing the transparency of compliance and enforcement activities with the goal of enhancing the public’s understanding of the FDA’s decision, promoting the accountability of the FDA, and fostering an understanding among regulated industry about the need for consistently safe and high-quality products.”

READ MORE:

US spends most on this drug… and no one knows how it works

GMO potato seeks FDA approval, opponents say safety risks remain

February 10, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Security firm says Sony hack might have been an inside job

RT | December 25, 2014

Despite claims by the FBI that North Korea was behind the massive hack against Sony, several cybersecurity experts have come forward to raise questions about the allegation, with some suggesting that insiders at the company could be to blame.

One such expert, Kurt Stammberger from the Norse cybersecuirty firm, told CBS News that his team believes a woman identified only as “Lena” was heavily involved in the hack – not North Korea.

“We are very confident that this was not an attack master-minded by North Korea and that insiders were key to the implementation of one of the most devastating attacks in history,” he told the news outlet.

“Sony was not just hacked, this is a company that was essentially nuked from the inside,” Stammberger added.

Little is known about Lena, but Norse believes the woman is somehow linked with the hacking group behind the attack, known as the ‘Guardians of Peace.’ The firm also suspects the woman was a former employee of Sony who worked there for 10 years before leaving in May 2014.

According to Stammberger, Lena’s position in the company would have given her the access and knowledge needed to identify the servers that hackers ultimately stole troves of data from.

Stammberger didn’t completely rule out North Korea’s role in the cyber attack, but he told CBS that evidence pointing to the country could actually be a case of misdirection.

“There are certainly North Korean fingerprints on this but when we run all those leads to ground they turn out to be decoys or red herrings,” he said.

Last week, the FBI officially pinned the hack on North Korea, saying the breach involved lines of code, methods, and encryption algorithms previously developed by the country.

“Technical analysis of the data deletion malware used in this attack revealed links to other malware that the FBI knows North Korea actors previously developed,” the FBI said in its statement. “The FBI also observed significant overlap between the infrastructure used in this attack and other malicious cyber activity the US government has previously linked directly to North Korea.”

“Separately, the tools used in the SPE attack have similarities to a cyberattack in March of last year against South Korean banks and media outlets, which was carried out by North Korea.”

Still, some remain unconvinced. Cybersecurity expert Bruce Schneier wrote that the code used by the hackers seems “to point in all directions at once.” Looking at the evidence cited by the FBI, Schneier said it’s the kind that is “easy to fake, and it’s even easier to interpret it incorrectly.” He also cast doubt on the “insider threat” theory, arguing that such an individual wouldn’t need the hacking tools used to breach Sony’s servers.

Schneier noted that the FBI has not revealed all the reasons for its claim, though, and acknowledged that classified evidence could clearly point the finger at North Korea. Unless that evidence is known, it’s hard to say with any certainty.

Other possibilities include the idea that North Korea “co-opted” the initial attack after an embarrassing glut of information was made public, using that as an opportunity to strike Sony, as it was reeling and facing pressure to cancel ‘The Interview’ movie.

While Sony did cancel the premiere and release of ‘The Interview’ – a comedy which tells the story of a CIA plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un – it has since relented in the face of public criticism, which included harsh words from President Barack Obama. The movie is now available on streaming services and will be in theaters in limited release on Christmas Day.

Regarding the film’s release, a North Korean envoy to the United Nations said the country will condemn the decision but will not have any “physical reaction.” He added that the movie is an “unpardonable mockery of our sovereignty and dignity of our supreme leader.”

The diplomat also told the Associated Press that his country was not involved in the hack.

READ MORE:

FBI formally accuses North Korea in Sony hack

Senator urges Obama to host White House screening of ‘The Interview’

N. Korea threatens US, demands apology for Obama’s ‘reckless rumors’ of Sony hack

December 25, 2014 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Adobe suspected of spying on eBook users

RT | October 8, 2014

Software giant Adobe has been accused of spying on individuals who use its Digital Editions e-book and PDF reader. The practice allegedly includes mining for data on users PCs, yet Adobe has denied acting beyond the user license agreement.

On Tuesday, the allegation that Digital Edition (DE) software logs and uploads user data to its servers was verified by Ars Technica and a competing software developer at Safari Books. This process is also notable because it’s done transparently over the internet, meaning individuals, internet corporations, and government departments like the National Security Agency can easily intercept the information.

Whether or not the company also monitors user hard drives in general has yet to be confirmed.

“It’s not clear how the data collected by Adobe is stored, but it is associated with a unique identifier for each Digital Editions installation that can be associated with an Internet Protocol address when logged,” Sean Gallagher wrote at Ars Technica. “And the fact that the data is broadcast in the clear by Digital Editions is directly in conflict with the privacy guidelines of many library systems, which closely guard readers’ book loan data.”

Originally, Adobe was flagged by the Digital Reader for tracking and uploading data related to various books opened in DE, such as how long a book has been activated or opened, or what pages have been read.

“Adobe is gathering data on the eBooks that have been opened, which pages were read, and in what order,” Nate Hoffelder wrote at the website. “All of this data, including the title, publisher, and other metadata for the book is being sent to Adobe’s server in clear text.”

“Adobe is not only logging what users are doing,” he continued, “they’re also sending those logs to their servers in such a way that anyone running one of the servers in between can listen in and know everything.”

If that wasn’t enough, Hoffelder claimed that Adobe’s tracking systems are exploring data even beyond the DE reader, scanning users’ computer hard drives and collecting and uploading metadata related to every e-book in the system – whether they were opened in DE or not.

As previously mentioned, this last accusation has not been verified.

“Adobe Digital Editions does not scan your entire computer looking for files that it knows how to open, it needs to be explicitly told about EPUB or PDF files that you would like it to know about,” an Adobe tech support employee wrote earlier this year in response to a question on the community forum.

Utilized by thousands of libraries in order to lend out books digitally, DE’s tracking of activation times would allow libraries to know when a particular lending period has run its course. However, DE is not just tracking borrowed books. It’s also keeping tabs on purchased titles as well.

“We are looking at this, and very concerned about this,” said Deorah Caldwell-Stone, the deputy director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, to Ars Technica. If the data being uploaded over the internet is related to library lending, “we would want this information encrypted and private,” she added.

Meanwhile, Adobe said that “all information collected from the user is collected solely for purposes such as license validation and to facilitate the implementation of different licensing models by publishers.”

“Additionally, this information is solely collected for the eBook currently being read by the user and not for any other eBook in the user’s library or read/available in any other reader. User privacy is very important to Adobe, and all data collection in Adobe Digital Editions is in line with the end user license agreement and the Adobe Privacy Policy.”

“In terms of the unsecure transmission of the collected data, Adobe is in the process of working on an update to address this issue,” the spokesperson said in an email to Ars Technica. “We will notify you when a date for this update has been determined.”

October 7, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Mysterious unidentified spying cell towers found across Washington, DC

RT | September 19, 2014

Washington, DC is littered with surveillance devices designed to trick surrounding mobile phones into logging onto signal-lifting networks, thereby allowing for tracking or call-monitoring purposes.

While traveling around the capital city with Washington Post reporters, a top executive using his company’s mobile-security technology detected as many as 18 such devices mimicking legitimate cell towers around the city, especially in sensitive areas around the likes of the White House, the US Capitol building, and foreign embassies.

Aaron Turner’s company Integricell is one of many outfits that has developed technology to indicate surveillance devices – known as ISMI catchers – used by police, intelligence entities, private individuals, and others to track surrounding devices or to even spy on phone calls.

ISMI catchers are named after a “unique identifying phone code called an ISMI,” according to the Post, and can hijack phone signals, tricking an average mobile phone attempting to hook into established cell networks such as Verizon or AT&T.

While Integricell found at least 18 such ISMI catchers, others believe that is simply the beginning.

“I think there’s even more here,” said Les Goldsmith, top executive with ESD America, a tech company partnering with Integricell to promote the company’s GSMK CryptoPhone. “That was just us driving around for a day and a half.”

Others expressed doubt to the Post that the CryptoPhone – currently marketed at $3,500 apiece – can accurately identify individual ISMI catchers.

“I would bet money that there are governments that are spying in DC,” said Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union. “Whether you can detect that with a $3,000 device, I don’t know.”

Goldsmith said that though there are ISMI catchers in the locations identified by Integricell’s technology, CryptoPhone cannot very well determine the source of espionage, whether it is the US government, local police, a foreign intelligence entity, or an individual.

The Federal Communications Commission has taken notice of ISMI-catching technology, as even skilled hobby technologists could build a surveillance device for less than $1,500. This summer, the FCC organized a task force to study potential use and abuse of ISMI catchers by foreign governments or private citizens. The FCC does not have authorization to police US government use of the catchers – which are illegal to use without a search warrant or other legal clearance.

Meanwhile, researchers across the globe are racing to counter ISMI catchers with a device known as “ISMI catcher-catcher.” These efforts include the development of free or inexpensive apps that could offer some protection from surveillance.

CryptoPhone looks for three indicators when attempting to identify an ISMI catcher: when a phone moves to a 2G network from a more-secure 3G one; when a phone connection “strips away” encryption; and when a cell tower does not offer a “neighbor’s list” of other cell towers in the area. ISMI catchers will not provide such lists, hoping to capture any phone that it comes in contact with in a general area.

When cruising around DC with the Post, Integricell’s Turner reported one or two of the three indicators. Only once in 90 minutes were all three indicators detected.

While there is a surge of interest in the likes of the CryptoPhone, researchers contend that makers of IMSI catchers will boost their own technology to outwit ISMI catcher-catchers, signaling an arms race in surveillance and counter-surveillance technology.

Earlier this month, Popular Science published a story – citing ESD America’s CEO Goldsmith – reporting that the CryptoPhone had found 17 different fake cell phone towers, or interceptors, across the United States in cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, and more.

“Interceptor use in the US is much higher than people had anticipated,” Goldsmith told Popular Science. “One of our customers took a road trip from Florida to North Carolina and he found 8 different interceptors on that trip. We even found one at South Point Casino in Las Vegas.”

Although these interceptors act as fake cell phone towers, they are not necessarily large, physical structures. They could simply be small mobile devices that act exactly like a real tower, deceiving phones into giving up information. Such devices are known as ‘Stingrays,’ after the brand name of one popular type of interceptor.

Police agencies across the country are increasingly relying on Stingrays to conduct investigations, but the powerful tools aren’t often discussed in public.

In June, the US Marshals Service intervened in a dispute between a Florida police department and the state’s ACLU chapter, with the Marshals sweeping in at the last minute to seize controversial cell phone records obtained with a Stingray device before the ACLU was able to review them.

The ACLU has asserted that a Stingray enables the “electronic equivalent of dragnet ‘general searches’ prohibited by the Fourth Amendment,” and convinced a court to force the Sarasota police to make the documents available for review.

September 19, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , , , | Leave a comment

American cities installing ominous surveillance tech despite NSA scandal

RT | November 11, 2013

Mass surveillance isn’t something only being conducted by the likes of the National Security Agency anymore. Despite growing concerns brought on by the Summer of Snowden, cities around America are adopting high tech spy tools.

Never mind the negative press the NSA has received in recent weeks after Edward Snowden began leaking top-secret documents to the media pertaining to the United States’ spy group’s broadly scoped surveillance programs. Law enforcement agencies and local leaders in major American cities are nevertheless signing on to install new systems that are affording officials the power to snoop on just about anyone within range.

Seattle, Washington and Las Vegas, Nevada are among the latest locales in the US to acquire surveillance tools, the likes of which were both discussed in regional media reports over the weekend that are making their rounds across the Web and causing privacy advocates around the world to raise their voice.

Neither West Coast city has announced plans to acquire telephone metadata or eavesdrop on email traffic, and combined their operations likely pale in comparison to what the NSA has accomplished. Civil liberties activists are sounding the alarm regardless, however, after new reports revealed what kind of information city officials could collect using newly installed equipment.

In Seattle, a city of around 635,000, the police department recently used a Department of Homeland Security grant for $2.6 million to purchase and put up a number of wireless access devices that together create “mesh networks” which law enforcement officials can connect to and in turn more quickly share large chunks of data, such as surveillance camera recordings and other high-res information.

Those access points, or APs, do more than just transfer data from one node to another, though, and actually spend large amounts of time scouring for every Internet-capable device in the area that may be searching for a Wi-Fi signal — such as any smart phone that can connected to the Web. Although the mesh network is being made for emergency responders to be able to interact with ease and provide them with a widespread wireless system to share information, the APs acquire basic information about every electronic device that even momentarily makes a connection, in theory allowing officials to see much more than the average Washingtonian might want to willfully hand over.

The Stranger, a Seattle alternative-weekly, spoke to the city’s police department about the recently installed mesh network but wasn’t given many answers. Law enforcement officials insisted that the system isn’t fully functioning yet — and little more — but the Stranger learned that authorities can log the MAC (media access control) address of any iPhone, Android, laptop or Internet-able device that’s within reach of its signal, which could then provide authorities with information that even a seasoned investigator might have a hard time obtaining otherwise. Just as how telecommunication companies ping devices almost constantly from nearby towers to test signals, learning the specific location of a MAC address at any given date and time can then be coupled with other location data in order to triangulate a subject’s movements up to even just a few inches away.

Speaking to the Stranger, the Seattle Police Department admitted it does not yet have a policy to govern the use of the multi-million dollar system, but said it is “actively collaborating” with the American Civil Liberties Union, contrary to claims made by the ACLU that the SPD has been anything but speedy when responding to its questions and concerns.

“We definitely feel like the public doesn’t have a handle on what the capabilities are,” Jamela Debelak of Seattle’s ACLU office said to The Stranger. “We’re not even sure the police department does.”

Should a policy not be put in place quickly enough, many fear the results could be ravaging for the privacy of the city’s half-a-million-plus residents, many of whom surely wouldn’t suspect that the phone in their pocket it silently sending personalized information to the Seattle Police Department anytime they walk within reach of an AP’s signal.

In Las Vegas, the latest tool there might be even more Orwellian.

Sin City is one of the latest locales to purchase a line of highly-functional lampposts sold by Michigan’s Illuminating Concepts under the branding of “IntelliStreets.” As RT has reported in the past, however, the devices do much more than light up sidewalks. These lampposts are also Wi-Fi-ready to stream passers-by localized information and even audio and graphics, but it’s what Intellistreets collect that’s really shocking. In addition to broadcasting information, the lampposts are equipped with microphones and cameras that can record anything within an earshot and send it to a server to be analyzed.

On the IntelliStreets website, the company says, “Intellistreets provides a platform and many developed applications to assist DHS in protecting its citizens and natural resources.”

“We want to develop more than just the street lighting component,” Neil Rohleder of the city’s Public Works Department told KSNV News. “We want to develop an experience for the people who come downtown.”

As the technology spreads in cities unopposed, however, it could lead the other towns to journey down a slippery slope that ends with relinquishing even more personal information down the road.

“This technology, you know is taking us to a place where, you know, you’ll essentially be monitored from the moment you leave your home till the moment you get home,” local civil rights activist Daphne Lee told the network.

“At what point do we say this is the land of the free,” Lee said. “People have a right to a reasonable amount of privacy.”

As the NSA scandal has shown the world, however, one person’s idea of privacy might vastly differ from another’s. Revelations made possible through Mr. Snowden’s leaks have shown that the US government routinely collects information about the dialer and recipient of nearly every phone call made in the country, and even America’s allies, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, are subject to NSA-issued surveillance.

Meanwhile, other cities along the West Coast are seeing a surge in surveillance tools that started before the first Snowden leak but are still being set in place. Federal grants totaling around $7 million to Oakland, California are being used to ensure that the city has an eye on seemingly everything by next summer, and requests by a growing number of law enforcement agencies for spy drones is expected to involve eventually equipping bureaus across the country with unmanned aerial vehicles by the dawn of the next  decade.

November 12, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NSA’s vast new Utah data hub suffering from ‘meltdowns’ – report

RT | October 8, 2013

Though the NSA’s vast data storage facility in Utah is now hardly a secret, new information has surfaced indicating widespread technical failures delaying its opening, including 10 “meltdowns” within the past 13 months.

The Pentagon’s facility, located in Bluffdale, which lies south of Salt Lake City, is being built to house a gargantuan quantity of data harvested, presumably, by many of the NSA’s surveillance programs now made public by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

Estimates of the facility’s capacity, which is classified, ranges from exabytes or zettabytes, reports the Wall Street Journal. An exabyte being equivalent to 100,000 times the size of printed material held by the Library of Congress, while a zettabyte is 1,000 times that amount.

A new report compiled through project documents and information provided to the WSJ by officials cite a number of electrical surges — called “arc fault failures” — which over the past 13 months have destroyed hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment, and delayed the facility from going active for a year.

According to one official, such arc fault failures can resemble “a flash of lightning inside a 2-foot box” and can melt metal and destroy circuitry.

Speculation as to whether the NSA’s facility in Utah is already active has been rampant, and indications are that its equipment is being slowly brought online as it becomes available, rather than in one dramatic on-switch moment.

“We turn each machine on as it is installed, and the facility is ready for that installation to begin,” NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines told the Salt Lake City Tribune in late September.

The $1.5 billion facility is estimated to be not only the NSA’s largest data center, but the largest in the world, with some 1 million square feet of space. Engineers have said the center will dwarf even Google’s largest data hub.

Special teams from the Army Corps of Engineers have been assigned to investigate the electrical issues at the Utah center. The most recent arc failure according to the WSJ seems to have occurred on September 25, causing $100,000 in damage. The first such reported failure is thought to have taken place on August 9 of last year.

So far the information available indicates that the reason for the technical failures remains in dispute. A statement issued by a consortium of private contractors currently working on site eluded to the sheer complexity of the data warehouse as the culprit.

“Problems were discovered with certain parts of the unique and highly complex electrical system. The causes of those problems have been determined and a permanent fix is being implemented,” said the firms.

According to various reports, including the latest by the WSJ, the Bluffdale site was chosen by the NSA owing to its affordable electricity. The data hub will consume some 65 megawatts of energy at a cost of $1 million per month.

Beyond its logistical hurdles, the NSA’s data hub will also open amidst heightened scrutiny. Lawmakers including Senator Ron Wyden, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee who recently questioned whether the NSA has also been harvesting geo-location data, have expressed a need to lay out just how the NSA will justify the collection of an increasingly dramatic amount of data.

“There is no question there is going to be increased scrutiny of these kinds of practices,” said Wyden, “because Americans understand this is a dangerous time, but the government, if it’s going to collect [this information], ought to have to say here’s how it contributes to security of the American people. They have not made that case.”

Only a week prior to Edward Snowden’s first batch of published leaks, the massive Utah center had been billed by the agency’s Deputy Director, John Inglis, as only one additional working part of the country’s national security apparatus.

“They shouldn’t be worried because, A, we’re Americans,” Inglis said. “We understand what the principles are that govern the nation; [and] B, we take an oath to the Constitution, and we take that very seriously.”

October 8, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 1 Comment

NSA to open new $60mln facility in N. Carolina university amid surveillance scrutiny

RT | August 16, 2013

While new disclosures this week have exposed inept oversight and gross privacy violations within the National Security Agency, news out of North Carolina has revealed that the NSA is spending $60.75 million on another brand new facility.

In the midst of an international debate focused on how the United States’ premier spy agency has conducted dragnet surveillance over much of the world, including at home, the NSA is expanding even further. The News & Observer reported on Thursday that North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC is receiving a $60.75 million grant from the NSA to develop a top-secret data analysis lab.

The grant, the paper reported, is three times larger than any award ever received by the university in the school’s history.

Randy Woodson, the school’s chancellor, said Thursday that the deal had been in the works for three years. He said he hoped the data center would make North Carolina a more attractive destination for technology companies. Woodson predicted that the project would create 100 jobs over five years.

“We appreciate the confidence of the National Security Agency to select NC State for this groundbreaking endeavor,” Woodson said in a statement. “Not only will it enhance the academic experience for our students and faculty, it will also add to the economic prosperity of our community through new jobs, new industry and new partnerships.”

Many details on the project have been kept secret because of national security, according to officials. But North Carolina State already has contracts with the Department of Defense, helping the agency research technology which will help soldiers identify improvised explosive devices and expand their foreign language capabilities, among other functions.

The NSA has come under harsh scrutiny in recent months due to the disclosure of classified surveillance programs which the government has used to justify monitoring the communications of Americans, as well as the international community. Internal emails published by the News & Observer reveal that North Carolina State originally intended to announce their deal with the NSA just before the leaks were published but decided to delay in fear of potential blowback.

“A very important announcement about our new NSA-funded Laboratory for Analytic Sciences was supposed to be made public this morning, but with that bit out of The Guardian newspaper on NSA collecting phone records of Verizon customers – everyone thought it best to not make the announcement just yet,” Randy Avent, the associate vice chancellor for research at NCSU, wrote in a message to other administrators. “By the way – our Lab is just that – a research program studying the fundamental science behind analytics. It is not a storage facility for classified data and does not work with any data like that mentioned in the article.”

The delayed announcement comes after another disclosure which further harmed the NSA’s reputation. The Washington Post published top-secret documents Thursday night which provide a glimpse into just how often the NSA breaks the law and invades the privacy of Americans. Thousands of violations were recorded in each of the years since the NSA’s power was expanded in 2008.

August 17, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment