Wired describes that the building is ironically and “blandly” named the Utah Data Center. When completed in Sept. 2013 it will house four 25,000 square foot halls of servers, among other things. Wired states that the cost for the project is estimated at $2 billion. Here‘s some of the data center’s purpose:
Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.”
Wired reports that the data center will store trillions of “words and thoughts and whispers” swirling on the Web. It states that “[to] those on the inside, the old adage that NSA stands for Never Say Anything applies more than ever.” In addition to public website data storage, Wired reports that it will seek out and house information on the “deep web:”
“The deep web contains government reports, databases, and other sources of information of high value to DOD and the intelligence community,” according to a 2010 Defense Science Board report. “Alternative tools are needed to find and index data in the deep web … Stealing the classified secrets of a potential adversary is where the [intelligence] community is most comfortable.”
Even with data storage as its publicized purpose, Wired reports that an official involved with the program has said “this is more than just a data center.” It hopes to be the ultimate code-cracking facility:
According to another top official also involved with the program, the NSA made an enormous breakthrough several years ago in its ability to cryptanalyze, or break, unfathomably complex encryption systems employed by not only governments around the world but also many average computer users in the US. The upshot, according to this official: “Everybody’s a target; everybody with communication is a target.”
Wired reports that the facility’s security system — an antiterrorism protection program — alone costs $10 million. The fence surrounding the building will be able to stop a 15,000 pound vehicle driving at 50 miles per hour. What’s inside that requires protections such as this? Wired has some of the specifications:
Inside, the facility will consist of four 25,000-square-foot halls filled with servers, complete with raised floor space for cables and storage. In addition, there will be more than 900,000 square feet for technical support and administration. The entire site will be self-sustaining, with fuel tanks large enough to power the backup generators for three days in an emergency, water storage with the capability of pumping 1.7 million gallons of liquid per day, as well as a sewage system and massive air-conditioning system to keep all those servers cool. Electricity will come from the center’s own substation built by Rocky Mountain Power to satisfy the 65-megawatt power demand. Such a mammoth amount of energy comes with a mammoth price tag—about $40 million a year, according to one estimate.