A wise person once said, the bathroom is the one and only sacred place, where you can retreat and be with your own thoughts, minding your own business. But if you thought that no one is interested in what you do there, you would be very mistaken.
The U.S National Security Agency (NSA) seems to be desperate to collect the byproduct of your ‘bathroom time’, in order to power a new data center, using the treated wastewater from a nearby sewage treatment plant. Be alert, everyone living in Howard County, Maryland.
Here we are facing one of these trade-off situations, where on one hand we have to think what is best for the environment, but on another we should also be concerned about the government violating our privacy rights. But is it really so bad for NSA to want to buy treated wastewater in order to power their computers instead of letting the sewage be dumped in the Little Patuxent River flowing nearby? Well, according to governmental critics and privacy advocates, the agency is putting their noses into the business of the American public, without expressing the slightest concern about their opinion.
But from an environmental standpoint, paying the county around $2 million, not only guarantees that millions of gallons of wastewater are put into a good use, but also ensures that this same amount is not disposed of in nature. Yes, it is true that our waste could be sold to any other business that requires a lot of energy for cooling for example, but will we really be able to protect our privacy in this way, or is it just a way to stop a legitimate institution from doing something with it?
The new data center in Fort Meade, which costs $40 million to construct, is expected to open its doors sometime in 2016. It is possible that the pleas of the critics manage to break the deal and slow down the plans of NSA, but only time will show which party is the strongest and has the final say.
Image (c) NSA