A group of protesters celebrated Independence Day by gathering in front of the new National Security Administration data center in Bluffdale, Utah.
The protest on Thursday consisted of about 150 people, whom Utah National Guard officers forced away from the building, the Associated Press reported.
The US$1.2bn data center has become a focal point for protest actions by people concerned with the NSA's allegedly wide-reaching data collection practices. The agency is amid a scandal that followed the release of classified documents about its collection of information about US citizens' internet activity by former contractor Edward Snowden.
On 30 June, a petition was started on whitehouse.org, asking the Obama administration to shut the data center down. About 2,300 people signed the petition, which needs 100,000 signatories to require a response from the government.
The data center project in Utah started in 2009, and the US Army Corps of Engineers has not yet completed construction. The data center is being built to intercept, store and analyze digital communications over domestic and international networks, according to a report by Wired.
In June, the NSA announced the start of another data center construction project in Fort Meade, Maryland, it appears will serve a similar purpose.
The agency has allocated $565m for the Maryland facility. The 600,000 sq ft building will house 70,000 sq ft of raised floor, and its power capacity will be 60MW.
The groundbreaking ceremony in Fort Meade was held in early June, and the project is slated for completion in 2016. The Army Corps of Engineers awarded the design-build contract to Hensel Phelps and Kiewit.