Most Active Stories
- Is the Bay Area in a housing bubble or a housing crisis?
- Mission High and Bi-Rite Market partner in a neighborhood divided
- Robotic seals comfort dementia patients but raise ethical concerns
- Robots for humanity: how technology is changing the life of one Bay Area man
- Audiograph's Sound of the Week: The Church of Coltrane
Turnstyle News: A teen's letter to the NSA
You can listen to this piece here.
Dear random NSA officer,
It might have been my web search for notorious murderers that led you to my electronic abode but I promise, I don’t share their homicidal interests.
It’s okay if you search through my stuff, though. Personally, I don’t mind. I have nothing to hide, at least not from you.
I know, I spend a little too much time looking at different nail art tutorials, but I have to make sure my nails are on point. My nail game is undefeated.
And I probably shouldn’t have watched every episode of Avatar: the Last Airbender in one week, but hey, at least I don’t go searching through other people’s stuff all day.
I’m sure you probably think your job is important, and you could be the heroes who stop a terrorist attack. But is it really necessary to look through a 15-year-old’s Internet history? I mean, what’s the worst you could find? Too many hours on Tumblr, or the fact that I still check on my Neopets now and then? I don’t even Facebook stalk people regularly.
I’m sure you already know from my YouTube history that I find comedian Jenna Marbles and her random sense of humor quite amusing. You should watch one of her videos after you’re done looking through my text messages.
Just to help you out, most of those are just silly conversations with friends, or questions about physics homework. I don’t send any illegal photos, and I don’t send any “Where should I hide the body?” messages. You might find out about the latest gossip that fills my monotonous high school life, but that’s pretty much it. No need to waste your time.
My phone calls, on the other hand, are a different story. From what I know about the NSA, you spies don’t actually listen to the conversations, you just look at the times the calls were made and how long they lasted. So you’re probably wondering what my conversations at 3 a.m. are about. Sorry, but you can’t know all of my secrets. You’ve probably already seen enough of them through my Internet history.
I’m not afraid of you spying on me, and I don’t think I’ll ever be flagged because of my adolescent curiosity. But there was once a time when privacy was an important part of our American identity, and I think that many Americans probably wouldn’t want your federal nose up in their business.
If you led a normal life, with a nice family living happily in some suburban neighborhood, would you want someone watching all the time from a bush across the street? Probably not. It’s just like having a friend pick up your phone without asking. You get defensive even though there’s nothing remotely scandalous on it.
So my question to the NSA is: why can’t you just ask? If you did, I’d be more than happy to let you take a peek into my boring online life.
Your friend, and loyal citizen,