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The US National Security Agency has received a lot of criticism for monitoring the public’s actions and violating their privacy. Now, it turns out, they not only want your cell phone data and even your online gaming history, they also want your sewage. Residents of Howard County in Maryland may not know it, but their “business” will soon end up cooling a massive NSA data center located nearby after the waste water is treated.

nsa, data center, surveilance, data collectionImage via the NSA

The new NSA data center being built at Fort Meade in Maryland plans to pay the county $2 million a year for their treated wastewater. The pump station, which the NSA will have constructed for about $40 million by 2016, will supply about five million gallons to cool their computers.

While reclaiming the sewage is much more environmentally friendly than the previous practice of dumping it into the Little Patuxent River, the county’s deal is sparking protest from privacy advocates. According to The Washington Post, several opposition groups have already targeted a data center in Utah and lobbied the government to outlaw the sale of utilities by local governments to NSA centers.

As far as the environment is concerned, the less treated water that reaches the river and Chesapeake Bay, the better. However, critics of the government’s almost Orwellian behavior has led many to try and stop the deal in order to slow or halt the data center’s function. Meanwhile, Howard County could alternatively sell its wastewater to businesses that need a lot of refrigeration, such as Dreyer’s Ice Cream. Shahid Buttar, head of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee in Washington, is working on model legislation to take to all states with NSA centers to provide governments with the tools they need to block the sale of wastewater to an agency that seems to operate more and more upon their own volition and without the oversight of the American public.


Via The Washington Post