Blimp Flies the Friendly NSA Skies and Your Right to be Forgotten

June 29, 2014
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Leave it to the environmentalists (NOTE: we have nothing against environmentalists or watch-dog groups, we like them, they at best keep us in check and at worst, keep us entertained) to kick-start your weekend early on a Friday.

Leave it to the environmentalists (NOTE: we have nothing against environmentalists or watch-dog groups, we like them, they at best keep us in check and at worst, keep us entertained) to kick-start your weekend early on a Friday.

Last week we reported that, once again, the NSA’s Bluffdale Data Center would go “dark”, or it would be off-limits to just about anyone and everyone seeking to find out what’s exactly going on inside the datacenter.  If you’d like to read our take on the NSA’s Bluffdale data center click here – it has a lot of information if you’d like to visit the datacenter as well.

So, what’s an environment group to do when they want to get the public’s eye on the NSA and why the data center has gone dark –take to the skies, of course, in a blimp that reads: “NSA Illegal Spying Below.”

The NSA Bluffdale Dark Datacenter
Blimp Reads: “NSA: Illegal Spying Below”

Or our favorite, put on Twitter this morning as the blimp floated over Salt Lake City-area’s data center, with the quip: “Dirigibles for digital rights!”

The group Tweeted at Greenpeace and The Tenth Amendment Center, and caught the eye of the national news, so an Andy Stepanian let the nation know that the environmental campaigning group Greenpeace, digital rights watchdog Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Tenth Amendment Center (TAC) teamed up to protest “the government’s illegal mass surveillance program.”

So, this got us to thinking: does it require a seemingly ridiculous stunt to keep the NSA from spying on us?  Moreover, is this even ridiculous?  Or are we, as a nation, becoming a group of secret Snowden-fans or do just want to be left alone?  Or is it a world problem?

We think it’s the latter:  there is a little-known, yet often dreamed about term “The Right to be Forgotten.”  A concept that an individual has the civil right to request that personal information be removed from the Internet.  We’ve all been taught, that once it’s on the Internet: it’s always on the Internet – so leave up those drunken party pictures from college on your Facebook page, Google images has them stored forever anyway.

However, maybe there’s hope:  Last May (2014) a man from Spain asked Google to remove links to an old newspaper article about his previous bankruptcy, claiming there was no legitimate reason for the outdated information to remain accessible online (seems like a pretty reasonable request, we honestly have no reason to know this.)

The European Court of Justice ruled that under European law, search engines are “data controllers” so they must consider all requests to stop returning irrelevant or outdated information in search queries.

According to the ruling, the Web pages that the query results in question point to can remain online and any link omissions on query returns will only occur when searches are made in Europe. In the wake of the ruling, Google began receiving thousands more requests to take down links.

So while the ruling completely goes against everything the open-web stands for and only applies to the EU: it begs the question: when is someone in the U.S. going to demand their data be taken down – or demand their data from the NSA – don’t worry someone already has – documentary filmmaker Morgan “Supersize Me” Spurlock already tried on CNN’s  “Inside Man: Big Data”.  Spurlock knew someone who knew someone who knew someone,  and they returned to him his data: a file folder Snowden would have been proud of.

So whether it takes a man from Spain who simply wants Google to clear a bankruptcy off the Internet, a blimp, a filmmaker or the NSA: the message seems to be pretty clear: Why won’t we just leave each other alone?  When did privacy become the commodity du jour? Is this just the backlash of Facebook and Instagram: where we literally play out our lives online or Twitter where we Tweet everything from the mundane to the sublime?

The answer’s pretty clear: a lot of data sharing has been done by us.  Once on the Internet: forever on the Internet.

But to the NSA: stop the illegal spying, maybe make yourselves a bit more transparent (share a few selfies on Facebook?), and one thing will be for certain: these guys won’t take to the skies: because yes, they are mocking you and, yes we are paying attention and listening, and we are laughing, but we are soon to tire of it.

The NSA Bluffdale Dark Datacenter

EFF’s Selfie: Blimp Takes to the Skies Over “Illegal NSA Spying”

 

For more information on the data center click here or visit datacenters,com for all things tech and datacenter related.