The U.S. government may have shut down, but you know its vast spying apparatus is working hard. And what might it be doing right now? Penetrating private Facebook accounts? Slipping Trojan horses into computers at The Guardian?
Ordinary citizens might never know what their government is up to security-wise, but it is possible to guess where it's conducting nefarious snooping activities. That's because when spooks eavesdrop on Web communications, they're targeting Internet infrastructure with a very physical presence. It might be Internet exchange points through which floods of information pass among networks, for instance, or sprawling "server farms" that allow cloud computing to exist. Google operates one of the latter in the city of Lenoir, North Carolina, and the amount of data-handling equipment it contains is stunning. Here's the outside, reminiscent of a slab of the Great Wall of China:
The cavernous inside is guarded by at least one stormtrooper:
The sheer amount of Internet concentrated in these facilities, to put it dumbly, makes them hot targets for spy agencies like the NSA and GCHQ. At least so asserts Matti Schneider, a French software engineer who recently debuted an intriguing map of "State Surveillance Baits."