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Monday, March 17, 2014

‘Turn Off The Water’ Says Coalition Against NSA Spying

A coalition of activists is pushing for state legislation that would cut off the water and power to National Security Agency facilities — including the new mega data center in Bluffdale, Utah — that need water to run huge computers.

The OffNow Coalition says illegal NSA surveillance violates Fourth Amendment protections against illegal search and seizure. Legislators in states including Utah, Maryland, California, Oklahoma and Indiana have introduced bills to thwart NSA activities.

Michael Boldin is executive director of the Tenth Amendment Center, which is part of the OffNow Coalition, and joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to explain his reasoning.


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  • Glencoerd

    Folks: You really should check your facts prior to airing stories. Computer centers recycle their cooling water using chillers (water to air) on the rooftop. Flushing potable cooling water down the drain is too expensive. This technology has been around since the 60′s.

    • Robert Thomas

      Some facilities may want to save money by locating where environmental (stream) water may participate in cooling. But you’re mostly correct.

      The group’s goal, though, is to use state or municipal legislatures to deny power, water, sewer utility (or other; garbage removal?) local support to these installations where action at the federal level has been unsuccessful

      It’s a program designed to generate media attention rather than actual results.

      • Maggie

        Yeah well, good luck to them shaking off the aphathy and indiference of the mayority of the country towards this serious problem.

        • Robert Thomas

          One can shake off one’s own apathy but it’s rude to try to shake it off of other people. Maybe OffNow’s reasoning in the public forum will succeed in alerting people that they have a stake in the support of these federal facilities even if it fails in state legislatures.

  • Robert Thomas

    Folks, Glencoerd’s comment is largely correct. A large facility such as those described may need to dissipate, say, 20MW. This is a lot of power but nothing like that which even a modest or small-sized electricity generation plant must shed. Location near a waterway may provide a reduced cost for cooling but most such plants will use electric power for this. I expect that the OffNow folks know they will get more media attention talking about water, but they really just want to pit states and municipalities against the federal government using any available avenue.

  • Dennis Costea Jr.

    Any attempt to block the Federal Government from supplying this ALREADY BUILT multi-billion dollar data center with water will only end up costing taxpayers more money! I do not care which states anyone gets to NOT supply water, just watch the government pay top dollar per gallon to ship it in from China if necessary! I feel confident they have already considered these possible objections and prepared contingency plans for them. Plus, any money the government spends defending such protests and blockade attempts comes out of taxpayer pocket too, so why bother? Ultimately the American people would come out better if we delivered the water to the NSA on a silver platter!

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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