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'

Seven Steps to Software Security

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. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.