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How true US is storing our data on cloud in UTAH & should we be concern?

jana
jana used Ask the Experts™
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Hello,

Maybe this question is not technical help but wanted to know what is your opinion.  Last week in a group conversation a colleague said that the United States is storing and has been storing our data on cloud in a facility in UTAH, all text messages, calls land/mobile, web-browsing, etc.

How true is this and should there be any concern?
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Distinguished Expert 2017

Commented:
Your question combines multiple things/assumptions.

Since two years ago, the phone call records are now supposed to be maintained by the carriers versus being aggregated.

Foreign Intercept is ...
Americans intercepted data is/are supposed to be minimized
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Sounds like someone who is paranoid and buys into conspiracy theories. There are limits into what the government can grab, some of which arnold has explained. Going into a full on explanation goes far beyond what would be appropriate for an online forum.
btanExec Consultant
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
It is probably not a question to be asked ad there will not be an affirmative reply.

The mammoth center, which cost some $1.7 billion, will allow the agency to store more and, perhaps more importantly, keep information for much longer. Bamford theorizes the facility will be able to hold a so-called yottabyte of information, the largest measurement computer scientists have. A yottabyte is equal to 500 quintillion pages of text, said Bamford, who believes the Utah center will store those phone records NSA gathered from Verizon Communications.

"Every day you pick up a telephone and call your grandmother or call your sons and daughters and mothers and fathers and whoever, records of those calls will be all kept in there -- and may be kept in there forever. Who knows?"

Documents leaked to the media in June 2013 described PRISM, a national security computer and network surveillance program operated by the NSA, as enabling in-depth surveillance on live Internet communications and stored information.

Reports linked the data center to the NSA's controversial expansion of activities, which store extremely large amounts of data.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.foxnews.com/tech/what-we-know-about-the-nsas-secret-data-data-warehouse-in-utah.amp

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_Data_Center
Top Expert 2016
Commented:
You are referring to the Utah Data Facility https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_Data_Center
In return for offering free items like google drive/gmail/search  the alphabet advertising company indexes and stores all of the information it can. Google Street View survey vehicles not only take pictures but gather a complete electronic environment i.e. which wifi networks are available. So not only can Google know your location via gps/ip address they can use relative signal strengths of wifi access points relative strength.

The governments have had agreements with  the telecom carriers for years. Most countries have similar agreements with local telecoms.  Due to the popularity of HTTPS a lot of this data is stored but for the foreseeable future is just a bunch of random bits. all that is available is the ip address's needed for routing but the data part of the packet is unintelligible bits.

If the governments got their way they would enforce a backdoor into encryption  claiming that this is needed for national security and law enforcement.  If permitted this would be quickly broken and nothing on the internet would be private
Principal Software Engineer
Commented:
btan and David are correct.  Unless you have used your own encryption on top of a channel, all communications in the US should be considered insecure due to monitoring by the government.  And even when encrypted it is probably not secure; any encryption program you can obtain has also been obtained by the government with a view toward finding a flaw in it.

While alphabet soup agencies are not supposed to spy on US citizens, this is easily evaded by members of Five Eyes simply by asking, e.g., British intelligence to monitor them and pass the results back to the requesting US agency.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Eyes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_641A

Regarding the Utah data center, the government's claims of not spying on US citizens is so much bovine-sourced fertilizer.

"In response to claims that the data center would be used to illegally monitor email of U.S. citizens, in April 2013 an NSA spokesperson said, "Many unfounded allegations have been made about the planned activities of the Utah Data Center, ... one of the biggest misconceptions about NSA is that we are unlawfully listening in on, or reading emails of, U.S. citizens. This is simply not the case."[4] This statement was made two months prior to the document leak that revealed the existence of the PRISM program (below)."

"Documents leaked to the media in June 2013 described PRISM, a national security computer and network surveillance program operated by the NSA, as enabling in-depth surveillance on live Internet communications and stored information.[11][12]"

And, of course, if you are carrying a cell phone the government knows where you are at all times via LocationSmart and Zumigo.

https://techcrunch.com/2019/01/09/us-cell-carriers-still-selling-your-location-data/

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Commented:
Thank you all i have info and links to keep knowledge and referring of.