Microsoft, Yahoo, potatoes and the NSA

I found this commentary about reports that Microsoft and Yahoo are building massive data storage facilities near a large NSA data-mining facility in rural Washington, and thought I should reproduce it in its entirety. It is simultaneously funny and scary:

Microsoft, Yahoo, potatoes and the NSA

According to CNN, Microsoft and Yahoo are planning on building data storage centres outside of Quincy, Washington. By all accounts a charming little town with a potato based economy.

Quincy has cheap land, cheap hydroelectric power and nice industrial parks to build data centres in. There’s easy access by highway 90 to nearby Ginko Petrified Forest State park, and – oh yes – the Yakima NSA facility.

Aah, nothing says ‘we value or customers privacy’ quite like building gaint private data storage centres near to a giant govt data mining centre. What will Yahoo and M$ store in these centres? They’re not saying:

“My understanding is their objective is to increase their capacity for the Internet, search engines,” Snead said. “All I know is there’s a lot of computers.”

Still unknown is whether those computers will hold consumer information, miles of code or backups for data stored on servers elsewhere. Gellos declined to provide further details, saying company officials were still finishing plans for the site.

Probably this is all just coincidence. We all know that big corporations don’t help the NSA monitor internet traffic and VOIP calls like AT&T did, and the government’s not even all that interested in online search engines. It’s not like the Feds would sue Google for search data.

There’s likely nothing to it. There’s plenty of other stuff between Yakima and Quincy (rocks, bigger rocks, a road) so both the NSA and the search engines have good, independent reasons to build there. Unless… maybe, just maybe, something more sinister is afoot.

What if the NSA, using the combined research muscle of both Yahoo and Microsoft were developing a supercomputer. … (dramatic pause) … A supercomputer that … (another dramatic pause) … runs on potatoes! If that’s the case then God help us. God help us all.

[via Boing Boing]

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