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Anti-NSA Pranksters Planted Tape Recorders Across New York and Published Your Conversations

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posted on May, 20 2015 @ 06:20 PM
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via Wired

A woman at a gym tells her friend she pays rent higher than $2,000 a month. An ex-Microsoft employee describes his work as an artist to a woman he’s interviewing to be his assistant—he makes paintings and body casts, as well as something to do with infrared light that’s hard to discern from his foreign accent. Another man describes his gay lover’s unusual sexual fetish, which involves engaging in fake fistfights, “like we were doing a scene from Batman Returns.”

These conversations—apparently real ones, whose participants had no knowledge an eavesdropper might be listening—were recorded and published by the NSA. Well, actually no, not the NSA, but an anonymous group of anti-NSA protestors claiming to be contractors of the intelligence agency and launching a new “pilot program” in New York City on its behalf. That spoof of a pilot program, as the prankster provocateurs describe and document in videos on their website, involves planting micro-cassette recorders under tables and benches around New York city, retrieving the tapes and embedding the resulting audio on their website: Wearealwayslistening.com.

Why are they partacking in this sort of political activism?

“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,”

and, a

link on the We Are Always Listening site makes clear the project’s larger political purpose: The word “Angry?” in the site’s menu connects to a page on the ACLU’s website that asks Americans to protest the renewal of Patriot Act, whose deadline looms on June 1. The ACLU page asks voters to petition Congress in particular to allow the 215 Section of the law to sunset

Seems legit to me! Sure they may be breaking some laws, but that is the point of political activism, to violate laws and rules to show and present the larger problem. Personally, if this wakes some people up, I am all for it. Perhaps people will realize, that though these conversations took place in a public forum, they still have private, personal information that the vast majority of people would not want in public hands, let alone the Governments'. Of course, as our courts have held one does not hold any reasonable expectation of privacy in a public forums, we often forget that private and personal matters discussed in a public forum are often done so in a relatively private manner. That is, conversations are not shouted, they are, to a certain extent, done in a manner where most of the time, and more or less, only the parties involved can hear and discern what is actually being said. I hope this goes viral.

Indeed, as we all know the NSA program on phone records is illegal, court rules the appeals court

did not issue an injunction ordering the program to stop.
However, if reauthorized

the government will have to persuade the Supreme Court to reverse the 2nd Circuit decision in order to keep the program from ending.


Already, as noted in this Washington Post story, the

Justice Department warned lawmakers that the National Security Agency will have to begin winding down its bulk collection of Americans' phone records by the end of the week if Congress fails to reauthorize the Patriot Act.
where the

House overwhelmingly passed a bill to end the bulk collection
while even the pro Patriot Act Senate might not be able to reauthorize it as is where McConnell

indicated that there may not be enough votes to pass it in the Senate.


The anti-NSA group taking the issue to the streets, combined with Rand Paul’s lonely NSA filibuster, I hope, is enough to counter those who want to reauthorize the act, or even make it stronger and more pervasive, as well as all the propaganda and fear mongering we have seen in the last month or so since debate on the issue has really ramped up before the June1st deadline.

Personally, I believe the entire Congress is wasting their time because, despite the fact we can't trust the Supreme Court on many issues these days, I am certain they will uphold the 2nd Circuits decision, especially considering public opinion on the matter as Poll: Few Trust NSA Data Collection Practices shows

respondents said they have a “pervasive sense” that they are being watched in their public and private lives. They also feel that they have very little control over the data that is collected and stored about them and how it is used.
Further, the

Pew survey also found that 65 percent of Americans believe there are not any appropriate limits on “what telephone and Internet data the government can collect” when it comes to counterterrorism efforts.

“Contrary to assertions that people ‘don’t care’ about privacy in the digital age, this survey suggests that Americans hold a range of strong views about the importance of control over their personal information and freedom from surveillance in daily life
should give clear indication to the Court, and Congress, where the public rests on the matter.

Nonetheless, the USA Freedom Act Will Get a Senate Vote, Setting Up Small Victory For Surveillance Reform where it

would end that bulk collection, forcing the NSA to make specific requests to the phone companies instead. The bill also requires more disclosure — and a public advocate — for the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, while otherwise extending the three provisions that were due to sunset on June 1.
This bill has also been criticized as sealing, and perhaps giving more power, to the NSA as

in the context of the incredibly broad mass surveillance here and around the globe exposed by Snowden, the change would be minimal. It would do nothing to limit NSA programs officially targeted at foreigners that “incidentally” collect vast amounts of American communications. It would not limit the agency’s mass surveillance of non-American communications at all.


It is of my opinion that we must remember how in-bedded the Patriot Act has become in the way our Government functions post 9/11 and accept the fact the chances of repealing it wholly are near zero, we have to dismantle this thing, piece by piece.

Do we have hope to hang on too or are our hopes going to be let down? Naturally, the optimist in me says the former and the pessimist says the latter.
edit on 5/20/2015 by AllSourceIntel because: spelling and grammar




posted on May, 20 2015 @ 06:40 PM
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a reply to: AllSourceIntel


Our country as we've known it is history. There is little hope of "taking it back" because there is little hope that the masses really want it back. We are entitled to pay taxes, work your butt off for precious little in recompension, and we can look forward to more and more laws taking more away.

The list of what we can do is rapidly growing short.

And yet, I love this country, the heart of it's people, and the dream of those men who founded this country.

I would not care to live anywhere else.

edit on 1432167467Wednesday31Wed, 20 May 2015 19:17:47 -0500pmWednesday1770731 by Ultralight because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 20 2015 @ 06:53 PM
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originally posted by: Ultralight
a reply to: AllSourceIntel


Our country as we've known it history. There is little hope of "taking it back" because there is little hope that the masses really want it back. We are entitled to pay taxes, work your butt off for precious little in recompension, and we can look forward to more and more laws taking more away.

The list of what we can do is rapidly growing short.

I can't help but to feel the same way to a certain degree; however, I think if people thought about issues in the right contexts, they would want to change things and make it so. But, absent government intrusions hitting close to home, I also fear this will not happen until it is too late. On the bright side, I don't think the Government can win in guerilla warfare, that is, fighting and following The Art of War.



posted on May, 20 2015 @ 07:20 PM
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a reply to: AllSourceIntel

Therein is the problem. The "right" contexts. Who determines what is "right"?



posted on May, 20 2015 @ 07:55 PM
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a reply to: AllSourceIntel

I whiled away many an hour cracking up over posts at Overheard in New York. Sadly, my last visit it seemed the site was no longer being updated. But any time you're in public, you can be overheard.



posted on May, 20 2015 @ 07:58 PM
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a reply to: Ultralight
Good point and question.

Right may not have been the correct term to use, and correct itself might be more appropriate. By this I mean, I don't think many people have sat down and thought how this may affect them, as illustrated by this anti-NSA group. Would they want the government to know their weird sexual fetishes?

... Another man describes his gay lover’s unusual sexual fetish, which involves engaging in fake fistfights, “like we were doing a scene from Batman Returns.”

With that though, would not right pertain to conforming to facts or truth, which is synonymous with correct? When we have historical evidence of abuses (Church Committee), and contemporary evidence of potential abuses (proposed blackmail), combined with evidence these practices are not accomplishing counter terrorism objectives, and the NSA working and coopearting with other agencies and departments to use that collection for routine crimes I believe, the mores of society has already determined what is right.
edit on 5/20/2015 by AllSourceIntel because: formatting



posted on May, 20 2015 @ 08:07 PM
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originally posted by: lindalinda
a reply to: AllSourceIntel
But any time you're in public, you can be overheard.

Correct, and I understand your line of reasoning,but many, most I would think, when discussing such private and personal matters in public tend to speak at lower volumes or do so in areas that are not so busy. Also, we never expect, nor should we, Government surveillance and collection of such conversations.

Able to be overheard or not, we should not have to live in fear that such conversations are going to be stored by the Government. A stranger that overhears a conversation often times cannot make out the entire conversation, the full context, and can really care less. The Government on the other hand, can use such conversations to discredit, blackmail, coerce, shame, and humiliate.



posted on May, 20 2015 @ 08:12 PM
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a reply to: AllSourceIntel

Exactly...society has determined what is "right" and who leads society around by the nose?

People, with some exception, don't seem to want to take the time to consider actions vs consequences and, as long as the consequence happens to others outside themselves and/or their circle of influence, they are content to blindly follow others.



posted on May, 20 2015 @ 08:22 PM
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a reply to: Ultralight
I do not disagree with you there which is why I also fear many will not consider, or want change, unless it hits close to home. This group, I hope, makes it hit home.



posted on May, 20 2015 @ 08:26 PM
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a reply to: AllSourceIntel

I have found ATSers to be free thinking, constructive, bold questioners. That is refreshing!!



posted on May, 20 2015 @ 08:33 PM
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a reply to: Ultralight
Yes, for the most part ATSers are free thinkers. At the very least, good discussion and debate takes place here despite how heated it can get. There is hope, might not be much of it, but it is there nonetheless.



posted on May, 20 2015 @ 08:34 PM
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As long as they didn't record someone who was talking on their phone.



posted on May, 20 2015 @ 09:28 PM
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originally posted by: Ultralight
a reply to: AllSourceIntel

Therein is the problem. The "right" contexts. Who determines what is "right"?


With the governments of the world keeping the people divided no one can determine what is right anymore .Nearly everything that happens nowadays is to keep the people debating something.



posted on May, 20 2015 @ 09:31 PM
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originally posted by: lindalinda
a reply to: AllSourceIntel

I whiled away many an hour cracking up over posts at Overheard in New York. Sadly, my last visit it seemed the site was no longer being updated. But any time you're in public, you can be overheard.


And did you know that to listen to another conversation unless invited is listed under law as eavesdropping ?



posted on May, 21 2015 @ 05:05 AM
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originally posted by: Ultralight
a reply to: AllSourceIntel

Therein is the problem. The "right" contexts. Who determines what is "right"?



Ever heard of constitution.

It just requires following that's all.



posted on May, 21 2015 @ 05:12 AM
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There is no New York statute that creates a general ban on recording in public areas. However, when recording audio, it is important to avoid violations of N.Y. Penal Law § 250 et seq., New York's Wiretapping Act. Wiretapping, under the Act, is defined to include the intentional interception of a conversation on a cellular telephone by means of a mechanical device by which it is possible to overhear the conversation. Thus, it is possible to violate the Wiretapping Act (and thereby commit a felony) by pointing a camera at a person speaking on a cell phone and creating an audio recording of part of the telephone conversation. However, New York permits the recording of telephone communications with the consent of one party to the conversation, and so it is permissible to create such a recording if the person being filmed consents.

Just because a camera is located in a public place does not mean that the subject being recorded is in a public place as well. Most states recognize that the use of a telescopic lens or enhanced audio recording equipment from a public location can violate privacy rights, if used to see or to listen to activity in places that could not be seen or overheard without mechanical assistance.

Link



posted on May, 21 2015 @ 07:45 AM
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a reply to: Gothmog

The action of keeping people divided and in perpetual chaos is not right. But yet we do little to stop it.



posted on May, 21 2015 @ 07:54 AM
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a reply to: Aboveway

Yes, I've heard of it, studied it and have watched it be gutted, intentionally misinterpreted, ignored, and now, nearly abolished. Your point?



posted on May, 24 2015 @ 02:17 AM
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originally posted by: Gothmog

originally posted by: lindalinda
a reply to: AllSourceIntel

I whiled away many an hour cracking up over posts at Overheard in New York. Sadly, my last visit it seemed the site was no longer being updated. But any time you're in public, you can be overheard.


And did you know that to listen to another conversation unless invited is listed under law as eavesdropping ?


I might have to serve hard time in the big house for felony eavesdropping. eh?



posted on May, 24 2015 @ 02:19 AM
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a reply to: lindalinda

Good news, it looks like Overheard in NY is back in action with its zany utterances.



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