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Anti-NSA group adopts highway to get close to Utah Data Center

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(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Opponents of the NSA Data Center protest the center on the 4th of July, by marching up to the Intersection of NSA Data Center access road and Redwood Road across from Camp Williams.

By nate carlisle

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Oct 09 2013 01:01AM
Updated Feb 14, 2014 11:35PM

An organization opposed to surveillance by the National Security Agency has been approved to "adopt" the section of highway running past the Utah Data Center, a move that would place the group’s protest-oriented name on signs outside the spy building.

Restore The Fourth-Utah would also be responsible for picking up litter on the 2-mile stretch of Redwood Road that includes the main entrance to the Utah Data Center and Camp Williams.

Lorina Potter, a representative of Restore The Fourth-Utah, said she sent a signed agreement to the Utah Department of Transportation on Tuesday. Potter is waiting for a signature from a UDOT representative or other final confirmation from UDOT.

UDOT spokesman John Gleason said the group has been approved and the final paperwork will be completed within days. Gleason said UDOT will probably erect one sign in each direction with Restore The Fourth-Utah’s name within a few weeks.

The name Restore The Fourth-Utah references the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing the right to be secure from unreasonable search and seizure.

Potter said the group plans to carry picket signs as it picks up litter.

Adopting the road "brings light to the fact we are fighting for Fourth Amendment rights for all people," Potter said.

When asked for comment, NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines replied in an email: "Highway adoptions are not a part of NSA’s federal mission."

Gleason didn’t know whether UDOT consulted with the NSA.

"As long as [Restore The Fourth-Utah is] following safety protocol," Gleason said, "we’re happy there are people applying to keep litter off the roads out there."

The agreement calls for Restore The Fourth-Utah to pick up garbage at least three times a year. UDOT would provide trash bags, orange vests and a sign representing the group that has adopted the highway. Redwood Road is also known as State Road 68.

Restore The Fourth started earlier this year in cities and states across the United States. The group maintains the NSA has illegally spied on Americans without warrants .

The group held protests on July 4. The Utah chapter started its protest on Redwood Road outside the data center, but Utah Highway Patrol troopers told them they were on NSA property. The protesters moved to the Utah Veterans Cemetery & Memorial Park in Bluffdale.

Potter said she doesn’t object to the NSA’s existence, but wants the agency to use public courts to apply for warrants to obtain records on specific individuals rather than using the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to obtain bulk data. "This is a daily invasion [of privacy]," Potter said. "This isn’t something that has gone away."

ncarlisle@sltrib.com

Twitter: @natecarlisle

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