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Anti-NSA protesters secretly record Americans' conversations to protest illegal domestic spying


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(NaturalNews) An anonymous group of anti-NSA activists has come up with a unique way of protesting against the notorious spy agency's privacy-invading practices.

They are calling attention to the NSA's continued collection of ordinary citizens' personal communications by mimicking their actions. The group has surreptitiously placed microcassette recorders in various locations throughout New York City to record the conversations of unsuspecting people who sit at the tables and benches under which the recorders have been placed.

The prankster protesters have posted some of these apparently real conversations on their website. The group satirically claims to have been contracted by the NSA, calling attention to the fact that the NSA often uses contracted private firms to perform their snooping duties for them.

"Nos Semper Audientem"

The home page of the site features a mock NSA seal with an eagle wearing headphones and a slogan that reads "Nos Semper Audientem." This is Latin for "We Are Always Listening." Another page on the site contains several of the recordings of New Yorkers discussing everything from sexual fetishes to personal fitness training. The page also features photos and addresses of the locations of the recorders, along with humorous "assessments" of the threat level of the persons engaged in the recorded conversations.

The "About" page of the site bears the following message:

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?'

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. We've started with NYC as a pilot program, but hope to roll the initiative out all across The Homeland.

For greater transparency we're declassifying excerpts from the recordings and highlighting where some devices are located. If you have any questions, ask them somewhere in public and eventually we'll hear you, or email us for a quicker response.

The site also includes a page titled "Angry?," which is actually a link to another page posted by the ACLU. The ACLU page provides information on the current state of the Patriot Act, which contains three provisions set to expire on June 1st, including Section 215, "under which the NSA collects records [sic] all of our phone calls every day, giving the government a detailed picture of our lives and relationships."

Section 215 extended

Congress has just authorized a two-month extension of the "unconstitutional and ineffective" program so that the spying can continue while they debate whether to reauthorize the program for another five years.

The ACLU page also has a form designed for citizens to use to send a message to their respective Senators and Representatives calling for the revocation of Section 215.

A WIRED.com story about the prank reveals some details about the protesters, who sent the magazine an encrypted email describing their motives.

From the email:

The NSA employs many 3rd party contractors, [and] we consider ourselves to be contractors of this nature, albeit in a unpaid and unsanctioned capacity. We can attest to the fact all people recorded are NOT actors and are not knowingly involved in the project in any way.

The decision of the group to remain anonymous is likely due in part to the fact that it is illegal in New York to secretly record conversations - unless, of course, you are the NSA.

The prank is a clever and humorous way to raise awareness of a serious issue. The NSA should not be allowed to continue snooping on innocent Americans, and Section 215 should finally be allowed to die. Let your representatives in Washington know that you do not support the reauthorization of this unconstitutional assault on our privacy rights.


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