BLUFFDALE, UT — The environmental campaigning group Greenpeace, digital rights watchdog Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and grassroots advocacy organization Tenth Amendment Center (TAC) joined forces today to fly an airship over the NSA’s data center in Utah to protest the government’s illegal mass surveillance program.
Greenpeace flew its 135-foot-long thermal airship over the Bluffdale, UT data center early Friday morning, carrying the message: “NSA Illegal Spying Below” along with a link steering people to a new web site,StandAgainstSpying.org, which the three groups launched with the support of a separate, diverse coalition of over 20 grassroots advocacy groups and Internet companies. The site grades members of Congress on what they have done, or often not done, to rein in the NSA.
“Rights rise or fall together,” Greenpeace Senior IT Campaigner Gary Cook said. “Greenpeace has learned firsthand that people cannot protect their right to clean air and water if our civil rights – including the right to free association and the right to be free of unreasonable searches – are stripped away.”
“We must hold members of Congress accountable and make clear to the public which members are standing up for surveillance reform and which are acting as roadblocks,” EFF Activism Director Rainey Reitman said. “The American people—and frankly people all over the world—can't wait any longer for Congress to rein in the NSA.”
“Our right to privacy is not a partisan issue. It's a human rights issue,” said Michael Boldin, executive director and founder of Tenth Amendment Center, an organization focused on constitutional originalism and decentralized government. “This coalition gives great hope for the future because it shows that people across the political spectrum can set aside differences to work together for common cause."
Greenpeace is a co-plaintiff on a lawsuit filed against the NSA by a broad coalition of membership and political advocacy organizations, represented by EFF, for violating their First Amendment right of association by illegally collecting their call records.
PHOTOS of the airship flight are available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/greenpeaceusa09/sets/72157645330296656/