Mysterious NSA Billboard Pops Up in Tribeca

October 3, 2013 | Andy Cush

“Your data should belong to the NSA,” reads a new billboard on West Broadway near Canal Street. There’s no indication of who put it up–just that phrase, all-caps, against a plain white background. It’s the kind of sly commentary one might expect from Banksy, if he wasn’t busy painting dogs peeing on things. A similar billboard recently went up in Silicon Valley, too.

We’ve reached out to Clear Channel, the owners of the space, who told us they’d look into it.

UPDATE: We heard back from Clear Channel spokesperson David Grabert, who tells us the billboard is part of a teaser advertising campaign for a company that will be revealed next week. “For now, I am respecting the creative campaign and reserving comment on who the advertiser is,” Grabert told ANIMAL.

We also contacted the longtime outdoor advertising manipulators in the Billboard Liberation Front, who weren’t involved, but issued a smartly tongue-in-cheek response anyway.

“The Billboard Liberation Front strongly condemns this act of billboard improvement by this unknown, shadowy organization,” Milton Rand Kalman of the BLF told ANIMAL. “Clearly, this unpatriotic group has mined information from our 25+ years of unauthorized advertising, co-opted our methods and manipulated messages using blatant acts of industrial espionage.”

“The BLF would never, ever, ever mock our great institutions such as the NSA. Nope, not even once,” he added. “Scout’s Honor!”

UPDATE: A similar billboard was spotted at 27th and Broadway. It turns out they were ads for BitTorrent.

(Photo: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)