Feeds

Want to sit in Picard's chair while spying on THE WORLD? We can make it so – ex-NSA man

Tells magazine that NSA boss 'built replica Star Trek bridge'

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

National Security Agency director Keith Alexander apparently sold the concept of surveillance to members of Congress using an operations centre styled on the bridge of the starship Enterprise from much-loved sci-fi series Star Trek.

According to "a former administration official" who spoke to Foreign Policy magazine, General Alexander set up the centre in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, at the time he was running the Army's Intelligence and Security Command. The official told FP that the set had been put together professionally by a Hollywood set designer to resemble the bridge of the USS Enterprise, complete with a massive projection screen on the forward wall, computer stations and doors that slide open and closed while making a "whoosh" sound – just like the doors in the TV series.

The facility was known as the Information Dominance Center, he told the magazine.

Politicians and other VIPs apparently got to sit in the captain's chair at the centre of the room while Alexander demonstrated big data analytics tools on the big screen. "Everybody wanted to sit in the chair at least once to pretend he was Jean-Luc Picard," a retired officer in charge of VIP visits explained to US news outlet PBS.

The PBS story was based on the FP feature (sign-in required) outlining Alexander's rise to the top of the NSA, including how he got his hands on the raw caches of data collected by the spy agency.

The Guardian adds that the website of DBI Architects features purported photographs of the actual Star Trek bridge-like briefing room commissioned by Gen "Collect it All" Alexander.

The original file with the pictures is here (PDF) but was inaccessible at the time of writing due to the volume of requests – presumably from overexcited Trekkies as well as senior NSA staffers keen to try out their best Patrick Stewart impressions. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.