Privacy activists just trolled the NSA with a giant blimp

That's one way to get a message across.

Mar 2, 2020, 2:11 am*



Patrick Howell O'Neill

The National Security Agency’s $1.5 billion Utah data center had a big unexpected visitor fly overhead this morning.

Members of an alliance of privacy advocates including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the Tenth Amendment Center, Greenpeace, and other civil liberty groups floated an airship above the monolithic midwest data storage facility that has become an unassuming symbol of America’s vast surveillance power gone awry.

The message delivered on the blimp was a simple warning to all observers below and around the world: “NSA Illegal Spying Below.”

The airship is the kick off to an EFF campaign that will grade Congress on its action (or inaction) when it comes to surveillance reform, a major sticking point for privacy advocates—and, polls show, a majority of Americans—after over a year of little change since Edward Snowden first made headlines.

As the centerpiece to the campaign, the EFF and a coalition of 20 other organizations just launched with the ambitious goals of outlawing mass surveilance, reforming the secret FISA court, prohibiting the NSA from placing backdoors into encryption technology, and promoting government transparency overall.

The grades, awarded by the privacy organizations, vary widely: 241 Members (45 percent) of Congress received A grades, 188 members failed, and 77 members were awarded question marks because they’ve taken no action at all.

Photo via EFF

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*First Published: Jun 27, 2014, 12:58 pm