VIDEO: Blimp flies over NSA’s Utah Data Center to protest ‘illegal mass surveillance program’

Posted at 8:59 AM, Jun 27, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-28 10:40:12-04

BLUFFDALE, Utah -- A group of activists from a coalition of environmental, privacy and anti-spying organizations flew a blimp over the NSA's massive Utah Data Center in protest over allegations of domestic spying.

"It's not often that you can get -- literally -- over the NSA," Parker Higgins, an activist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told FOX 13 on Friday.

The EFF, Greenpeace and the Tenth Amendment Center used the green blimp, which had the words "NSA, Illegal Spying Below" with an arrow pointing down.

"NSA surveillance impacts a lot of us, but it's hard to feel the physical impact of it," said Higgins. "When you see the sprawling, scary data center, it really drives home that this agency is really doing something physical and real that affects Americans and non-Americans' lives."

The FAA and the Utah National Guard told FOX 13 the flight over the Utah Data Center was legal.

"Camp Williams only restricts the airspace when we're under operations with live fire cannon operations or small fire operations," said Lt. Col. Steven Fairbourn.

The protest groups said they took steps to make sure their flyover was legal, even bringing the blimp down by 7 a.m. to ensure it did not interfere with other air traffic.

The event was certainly noticed by commuters.

The NSA did not immediately return a request for comment on the demonstration.

The action is part of a larger campaign the groups have to increase pressure on the NSA over domestic surveillance. Privacy rights groups have called for power and water to be cut off to the Utah Data Center.

In May, FOX 13 published the Utah Data Center's water bill, which suggested the facility may not be fully operational.

Some Utah lawmakers have also renewed plans for legislation to cut off material support for the NSA data center.

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