‘We Are Always Listening’: Pranksters plant hacking devices across NYC in anti-NSA move
A group of anti-NSA pranksters have planted recording devices in public places across New York, saying that they are “gathering information to help win the war on terror.”
The devices can be found everywhere in New York – in cafes, under benches, in shops, restaurants and bars.
“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 group, dubbed “We Are Always Listening,”wrote on its website.
According to anti-NSA activists, the 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.”
The pranksters say they are “declassifying excerpts from the recordings and highlighting” where some devices are located “for greater transparency.” Each recording on the website has the location, terrorism status and device status.
The recordings are rather mundane and reveal everything from cheating to conversations with personal coaches and job interviews.
— Anonymous|Operations (@AnonyCrypt) May 22, 2015
The group says it is listening, “as you cut up friends behind their backs.” The recording on their website shows “Asians belittling other Asians for sounding too Asian.”
The group said it is even listening to people’s very intimate moments, such as when they talk about sexual encounters, or the moments you “are scheming.” One conversation revealed deception, and in the terrorism status the activists ironically wrote: “Plot detected, though not terrorist in nature.”
The recording devices are still in place at Building on Bond in Brooklyn and Cafe Orlin and Cafe Mogador in Manhattan, according to the group’s website.
A representative of the group told RT that the activists have deleted the lion share of the recordings that they have obtained releasing most likely less than 10 minutes of audio.
“That’s really just to show people the types of conversation that are being monitored and that even the most mundane conversations reveal a great deal about your life. They can reveal your sexual preference; they can reveal what type of medical condition you have; they can reveal who you associate with and how often and where you travel and how often and what the places you travel to can say about your life.”
According to the group, the NSA doesn’t know about its unofficial counterpart in New York.
"We haven't had an email or phone call exchange [with the NSA] yet. Based on the actions that they take, we think they'd approve,” theactivists told Mashable.
The group hopes eventually ”that the NSA will adopt the We Are Always Listening project and make it a fully funded and functional arm of the NSA,” another representative of the organization told The Guardian.
“We hope that we’re lauded and applauded for helping to keep the country safe,” the source said. “Even the most mundane conversations, as the NSA will tell you, are of vital importance,” he said, adding they don’t release “anybody’s first and last names”.
He said that if it turns out that it’s illegal, “we’ll put a full stop to it. We’ll continue to keep the country safe from terror until then.”
The group’s representative told the paper that “We Are Always Listening” also has plans to start the surveillance of people in Germany, just like the real NSA.