Three activist groups flew a blimp emblazoned with the words
"Illegal Spying Below" over the National Security Agency's
data center in Utah in protest against the federal
government's mass surveillance programmes.
The one-hour flight over the high-tech facility was launched
by the environmental group Greenpeace, digital rights
activists the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and a
conservative political organization, the Tenth Amendment
The 41m long blimp, which is owned by Greenpeace, was adorned
with a sign that read, "NSA Illegal Spying Below."
In an email to Reuters, the agency declined to comment.
But a spokesman did note there is no restricted airspace over
the data centre, housed on the grounds of the Utah National
Guard's Camp Williams, in Bluffdale, 37km south of Salt Lake
The facility, which the NSA says provides the government with
intelligence and warnings about cyber security threats, is
thought to be the agency's largest data storage centre.
The blimp protest coincided with the launch of an online
campaign that rates members of Congress on actions the
activists say either further or stop data collection efforts
by the NSA.
Greenpeace said the report cards on the site
standagainstspying.org were created by analysing NSA reform
bills in Congress and weighting proposals on the degree to
which they would end mass data collection.
"Our right to privacy is not a partisan issue. It's a human
rights issue," said Michael Boldin, founder of Tenth
Amendment Centre, which advocates for decentralized
"This coalition gives great hope for the future because it
shows that people across the political spectrum can set aside
differences to work together."