5 Funny Ways to Protest the NSA

Since discussing “5 Funny Ways to Contest Corporate Personhood” earlier this year, a new frightening controversy has come to our attention: the NSA. The secretive program may do its best to fly under the radar while collecting – en masse – personal information from foreigners and U.S. citizens alike, but that hasn’t stopped concerned individuals from finding creative ways to voice their disapproval for this overdone approach to a surveillance state.

Here are five funny ways NSA dissenters have found to express themselves:

1. Adopting a Highway

Restore the Fourth Utah, a local group opposed to the warrantless mass collection of data, found an inventive way of obtaining lawful proximity to the NSA: they adopted the highway adjacent to an NSA building.

Like good adoptive parents, the group will be responsible for regularly cleaning litter from the highway… and they plan on holding signs opposing the NSA while doing so. Additionally, the Utah Department of Transportation will put Restore the Fourth’s name on a sign right near the NSA building. What a clever way to keep an eye on the agency that’s keeping too many eyes on the rest of us, while doing something positive for the community in the process.

2. Prank Calling

Iranian born Bahram Sadeghi decided to give the NSA a call to ask them for help retrieving a lost email. On the call, Sadeghi pretended that he had accidentally deleted an important email and was hoping that the NSA might have a copy of it saved somewhere. Playing dumb, he explained that, given his heritage, he thought there was a heightened chance they’d keep his information on file.

The only things more amusing than the prank call’s premise are the carefully worded responses from the NSA’s staff to the unusual request. You know, it really would be nice if they could at least provide some useful tech assistance with all of the information they’re helping themselves to, but I suppose that would require admitting what they’re doing!

3. Customizing Email Signatures

Benjamin Grosser has created a Gmail add-on that develops phony, incoherent sentences to be included in a user’s email signature. Each signature will contain a number of key words – such as “threat”, “terror”, “plot”, or “hostage” – that the NSA’s XKEYSCORE searches for.

The hope is that if a lot of people use this program, the seemingly (but not really) alarming trigger words will render the program useless by bogging it down with trivial content. Plus, the concluding gibberish might make the friends you communicate with giggle.

4. Creating a Parody Website

Last year, an anonymous webmaster used the existing information he could find on the NSA to create a parody site designed to mimic a government webpage. The traffic to the page was minimal, but once Edward Snowden leaked critical information about the NSA, more people have been curious to see a proper skewering of the agency.

Unintentionally, the site has managed to fool some people into thinking it’s the real deal, due in part to its subtle approach to humor. The site purports the NSA’s motto is “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to hear” and justifies that its actions are constitutional “thanks to top-secret Fourth Amendment exceptions allowed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.”

5. Holding Signs

Finally, there’s always the old-fashioned approach to humorous protesting: witty signs! Buzzfeed compiled some of its favorites from anti-domestic spying rallies this year and they’re sure to give you a chuckle.


Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Shalvah Landy
Past Member 4 years ago

Bahram Sadeghi is hilarious!

Mauvette Joesephine
Catherine Fisher4 years ago

Prank calling is a wrong way to protest!
But some other ways are good.

scarlett g.
.4 years ago

NICE ARTICLE, not only approved, BUT...actually submitted by the NSA...

Let the green stars SHINE!!

Marlee A.
Marlee Anderson4 years ago

Thanks for the smile this morning. :)

Lynn C.
Past Member 4 years ago


Don L.
Don L4 years ago

This article was approved by the NSA

Robert Ludwig
Robert Ludwig4 years ago

Since the NSA has all my information anyway, I think they should be required to restore my computer the next time it crashes.

Nikolas Karman
Nikolas K4 years ago

Funny how people laugh when its getting serious just shows how helpless they feel because of their past inaction.

Jutta Suthau
Jutta Suthau4 years ago