Protestors Launch a 135-Foot Blimp Over the NSA’s Utah Data CenterSubmitted by Diamond Dog on Fri, 07/04/2014 - 13:30
BY ANDY GREENBERG 06.27.14 | Wired | Image: Greenpeace via EFF
Plenty of nightmare surveillance theories surround the million-square-foot NSA facility opened last year in Bluffdale, Utah. Any locals driving by the gargantuan complex Friday morning saw something that may inspire new ones: A massive blimp hovering over the center, with the letters NSA printed on its side.
Activist groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Greenpeace launched the 135-foot thermal airship early Friday morning to protest the agency’s mass surveillance programs and to announce the launch of Stand Against Spying, a website that rates members of Congress on their support or opposition to NSA reform. The full message on the blimp reads “NSA: Illegal Spying Below” along with an arrow pointing downward and the Stand Against Spying URL.
“We thought it would be fun to fly an airship around the Utah data center, which in many ways epitomizes the NSA’s collect-it-all strategy,” says Rainey Reitman, an activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “We wanted to have a way to symbolize that our movement is getting quite confrontational with NSA surveillance in a visceral way.”
The protestors launched the blimp, which is owned by Greenpeace and named the AE Bates after a longtime Greenpeace volunteer, at 6 a.m. to capitalize on calm weather. They flew it 1,000 feet over the Bluffdale facility.