(Standard-Examiner (Ogden, UT) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) June 28--BLUFFDALE -- Activist groups flew an airship over Utah's National Security Agency Friday morning.
Greenpeace, Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Tenth Amendment Center used a blimp to protest the government's alleged illegal activity.
The 135-foot-long thermal airship soared over the city of Bluffdale with a message that read: "NSA Illegal Spying Below" and below it a link, StandAgainstSpying.org.
"We're flying an airship over the Utah data center, which has come to symbolize the NSA's collect-it-all approach to surveillance, and demanding an end to the mass spying. It's time for bold action in defense of our privacy," said EFF Activism Director Rainey Reitman in a press release.
The Utah Data Center, located at Camp Williams near Bluffdale, is the first Internet security initiative designed to support the efforts of the U.S. intelligence community. This Utah repository processes digital data or all forms of communication across the U.S. providing authorities with warnings about cyber threats.
In 2008, EFF filed a lawsuit against the NSA for allegedly violating their constitutional rights by illegally collecting their call logs.
"We've been pushing back again surveillance over the past year and this is in that spirit," said EFF activist Parker Higgins, who rode in an aircraft alongside the blimp. "This is one of the most exciting ways to impact litigation, grabbing the attention that the more policy-oriented techniques have not."
In 2013, the NSA responded to similar claims saying that these allegations are a big misconception and not the case.
"All of NSA's operations are conducted in strict accordance with the rule of law," wrote Vanee' Vines, NSA spokesman, in an email to the Standard-Examiner.
"We see protecting illegal mass surveillance as an environmental issue, because for clean air and water we need a healthy democracy," said Davis Pomperanpz, spokesman for Greenpeace. "We've been a target of government policy, so we communicate to our allies around the world about our freedoms that are being abused. We are proud to take action with allies that have also taken action against NSA's program."
EFF represents Greenpace in the First Unitarian vs. NSA lawsuit.
The three groups launched the blimp Friday with support from other organizations, including more than 20 grassroots advocacy groups and Internet companies. The website identifies congressmen and addresses their alleged stance on the situation with NSA.
"People notice more when you get on an airship above the Utah data center," Higgins said. "It's terrifying to see how massive the data center is." He added that Utah has a really strong activist scene though no groups participated in this project.
"We did this in conjunction with launching our website, which acts like a score card (that rates) how legislatures are doing with the surveillance issue," Higgins said, hoping people take a look at it.