PRISM Scandal: 'Troll the NSA' Email Seeks to Prank Surveillance Agency
After last week's revelations of seized phone records, worldwide data mining, and the end of internet privacy, it's easy to feel helpless in the face of excessive NSA surveillance.
Well, after 7:00pm (EDT) Wednesday – if the owners of trollthensa.com get their way – the world's largest intelligence agency may have their work cut out for them.
The website – shared by 20,000 people at the time of writing – is asking the world to come together and simultaneously call/email a script loaded with terrorist-buzzwords.
If the NSA are indeed illegally monitoring domestic communications – which, of course, they would never do – then this prank is sure to test the agency's vast surveillance apparatus.
The first paragraph of the 350-word script reads:
Hey! How's it going? I'm all right.
My job is so shitty I wish could overthrow my boss. It's like this oppressive regime where only true believers in his management techniques will stay around. I work marathon-length hours and he's made all these changes that have made it the worst architecture firm to work at in Manhattan. Like he moved the office to the Financial District and fired my assistant. She was the only one who knew where the blueprints were! I need access to those blueprints to complete my job! F my life, right? And he keeps trying to start all these new initiatives to boost revenue, but seriously we just need to stick to what we do best. There's only one true profit center. I seriously feel ready to go on strike at any second.
Other national-security-infringing words include 'radical,' 'downfall,' 'death to millions of Americans,' 'radicalized,' 'ricin,' and 'the bomb.'
And if all these fail to ping the NSA supercomputers, the script's final statement – "I'm late for flight school. I missed the last class where we learn how to land" – is sure to alert anyone who happens to be listening in.
Despite this campaign's popularity, trolling the NSA is unlikely to end the U.S. surveillance culture that's been expanding since the Clinton administration.
The promise of pranks like these is that – now we understand the extent to which online data is stored and monitored – people are finally deciding for themselves whether they will accept programs like PRISM.
Without accurate information about the inner-workings of the NSA and other centers of power, this is a debate people have been long starved of. And is exactly why leakers such as Edward Snowden deserve our support.
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