While this is more towards a recent scandal in the United States, it has affected some internet users to flee away from online sites that can track you and record everything you type. This has had people wanting to avoid Facebook, Twitter and Google, As well as not trusting their service providers anymore. Is this new thought of constantly being watched like a criminal by your government scare you? Is it actual fact?
Let us backtrack with some thoughts. It has always been thought that the government has some way of watching us or is trying to find a way to do it. Recent pokes at the critical flop of the Xbox One’s policy, besides having to connect online once every 24 hours and cannot trade video games, is the fact that the camera based ‘Kinect’ feature has to be attached and always remain online and watching you and has been pointed towards that “Microsoft is always watching you.” But even then, it has been a popular topic in books and discussions.
Then on June 5, the Guardian newspaper published an exclusive report that the US National Security Agency is collecting the telephone records of millions of customers of Verizon. The article detailed a classified order from the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which was obtained by the UK daily newspaper and made publicly available on its website, directing Verizon’s Business Network Services to hand over all “telephony metadata” created by the mobile service provider within the United States and abroad.
The Guardian’s leak of the court document was universally met by criticisms of the Obama administration from both ends of the political spectrum, as well as news media outlets and civil rights advocacy groups. That same day, the New York Times published an editorial titled “President Obama’s Dragnet,” slamming the president’s abuse of executive power, especially in the light of another recent scandal that the Justice Department secretly monitored the Associated Press and Fox News, and adding that the Obama “administration has now lost all credibility.”
Meanwhile, the internet responded with massive disapproval as on Facebook, the Guardian’s story was shared more than 103,000 times before 2 p.m. and the story was met by similar reactions of anger, confusion and even a few jokes about Verizon’s “share everything” plan and its ever-so-fitting catchphrase “can you hear me now?”
On Twitter, the original story published by the Guardian was shared more than 10,200 times before 10 a.m. while the hashtag #NSA immediately shot up to the top trending topic of the day, leading to nearly 250,000 mentions in less than 24 hours.
Besides the main news sources following this, some of the lesser known internet pokes of this have popped up.
Shortly after the Guardian broke the story on June 6, BuzzFeed ran an article titled “Help Us Reimagine Verizon Ads,” featuring a compilation of image macros parodying the Verizon Wireless advertisements and their well-known slogan “can you hear me now?” In the following days, additional jokes and wordplays centered around Verizon Wireless and its “Share Everything” data subscription plan continued to appear on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and Tumblr.
Another Example is the “Obama is Checking Your Email” Tumblr, Launched June 8. It was created to mock the Obama administration’s involvement in the NSA surveillance scandal, highlighting various photographs of President Obama staring at computer monitors and smart phone screens as if he is spying on private citizens. Two days later on June 10, several news and tech sites highlighted notable examples from the Tumblr blog, including BuzzFeed, The Daily Dot, Mashable and the New York Daily News. The same day, Redditor sligowaths posted a link to the blog on the /r/toosoon subreddit, where it gained upwards of 820 up votes and 40 comments in the first 24 hours.
Also on June 8, Twitter user @Darth asked his followers to submit parody titles of children’s books incorporating the NSA’s domestic surveillance scandal with the hashtag #NSAKidsBooks. After more than 2,800 mentions of the hashtag over the weekend, @Darth used the submissions as his inspiration for a series of children’s book cover illustrations. One example is provided below:
More info on the NSA scandal can be found here.
Too busy looking for laughs then spy camaras? Have some Batman parody here.