New Yorkers: the NSA may be listening to your conversations. Well, kind of.
On Wednesday, an anonymous anti-National Security Agency activist group
launched the website wearealwayslistening.com, a site that hosts secretly recorded conversations in New York City. The stunt is a reference to the NSA’s bulk collection of metadata covered under the Patriot Act.
“Eavesdropping on the population has revealed many saying ‘I’m not doing anything wrong so who cares if the NSA tracks what I say and do?’ the site said.
“Citizens don’t seem to mind this monitoring, so we’re hiding recorders in public places in hopes of gathering information to help win the war on terror.”
Unlike the NSA, the site said it will “declassify” its recordings and post them on the site.
“For greater transparency we’re declassifying excerpts from the recordings and highlighting where some devices are located,” the site said.
The group recorded several of what it claims to be real conversations across New York, including a personal training session at a Crunch Gym, a job interview, and a conversation about a sexual fetish. Each recording is posted on the site with a description of the location and the people involved.
The group also links to the American Civil Liberties Union action page on Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which the Obama administration argues justifies the NSA’s controversial spying program. According to Wired, the ACLU says it’s not involved in the stunt, but did give permission to the prank-NSA to link to the ACLU’s website.
The stunt comes as Congress is struggling to extend the Patriot Act due to concerns about the NSA’s mass collection of telephone metadata. On Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) took to the Senate floor to filibuster the extension, calling it unconstitutional and morally wrong.
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