Insta-quiz: Which NSA blog is the real NSA blog?

Who says our nation's spooks aren't down with the kids? The NSA has just launched a new 'transparency hub'. Can you figure out which one it is?

Yes, Virginia, the National Security Agency has launched a new Web site – one designed to “create a hub for further transparency,” in the words of our President.

Because, despite the massive transparency the NSA is known for, we could always use just a scosh more.

Of course, the new government-approved NSA site is not the only one out there. There are a few pretenders to the crown. Can you guess which one is the genuine article and which ones are fake?

Candidate #1: GetPrism


This site boasts:

* No ads, ever. Share your content without ever being interrupted again.

* Unlimited Storage. With the world’s largest data center, share endlessly.

* 320 million strong. You’ll find every person you’ve ever known. Even grandma.

* Key partners include Aol, Apple, AT&T, Facebook, Google, Skype, & Yahoo.

Candidate #2: NSA MadLibs

ty4ns-nsa mad libs cropped.png

Can’t decipher what that heavily redacted ‘de-classified’ document actually says? Just fill in the blanks and make up your own. It’s likely to make just as much sense as the original.

Candidate #3: IC on the Record

ty4ns-ic on record-cropped.png

Here’s an excerpt:

The highest priority of the Intelligence Community is to work within the constraints of law to collect, analyze and understand information related to potential threats to our national security.

As we work to deliver the most insightful intelligence possible, we must and will, without compromise, uphold the rule of law and respect the civil liberties and privacy of every American.

James Clapper
Director of National Intelligence

That Clapper guy is a riot, isn’t he?

And the final Jeopardy answer is….

The first site, GetPrism, is a wicked parody of a what a social networking site would look like if the NSA had its way. (Or what might have happened if Mark Zuckerberg had graduated from Harvard and joined the secret service.) When you click the “Sign up now” button, though, you see this:

ty4ns-getprism error msg.png

The Contact technical support button takes you to the real site – an EFF page on the NSA’s massive surveillance dragnet. The GetPrism parody was created by some clever fellows over at Datacoup, a site that aims to help people turn their personal data into a form of Internet currency. Bravo, gentlemen.

The second site is a Mother Jones parody of a heavily redacted NSA document. Here is a shot from an actual redacted document:

ty4ns-nsa redactions.jpg

Not so far from the truth, eh?

The third site is the real one (but you knew that already). For reasons that surpass all understanding, last week the NSA launched its own Tumblr blog, though the people at No Such Agency clearly do not understand what Tumblr is.

If the NSA actually understood Tumblr, its site would be filled with GIFs of a grumpy cat wearing headphones listening in on our phone conversations while reading our emails. Kind of like this one:

ty4ns-grumpy nsa cat-cropped.png

Instead, it’s filled with the dry bureaucratese that is the stock in trade of all government entities, but most especially those whose primary goal is to bore us into complacence.

Still, James Clapper’s Welcome post must have struck a chord; it’s already been reblogged by Jellyfishdirigible, super-pineapple-in-the-tardis and catfrend. I feel less thoroughly surveilled and invasively searched already.

Got a question about social media or privacy? TY4NS blogger Dan Tynan may have the answer (and if not, he’ll make something up). Follow him on Twitter: @tynanwrites. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-to’s, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

Now read this:

What’s wrong with the NSA’s womb-to-tomb 24/7 surveillance

The NSA never metadata it didn’t like

Has Tor been bugged by the NSA?

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