by Tim Cushing

Filed Under:
government, privacy, technology

Dateline 1901: In Response To Presidential Assassination, Department Of Justice Orders All Phone Calls Logged And Stored

from the a-bold-new-era-of-surveillance...-and-safety! dept

[If there's a new form of communication out there, you can be damn sure that the Department of Justice wants a piece of it. And if it doesn't, your local law enforcement, the FBI, the NSA, the CIA and any number of other government agencies do. The DOJ's justification seems to be that any new form of communication doesn't deserve protection from government snooping simply because there's no specific legal precedent preventing it from requesting the data. Julian Sanchez summed up this attitude concisely in this Tweet:
To that end, here's that Tweet brought to thrilling life, via the fake news-like article below.]


While our grand nation still mourns the passing of President McKinley at the hands of an assassin, our fine gentlemen in Congress are meeting with our other fine gentlemen in the Department of Justice in an effort to prevent future tragedies such as this.

The assassin, Leon Czolgosz, an American-born foreigner of Polish descent, fired two bullets in a cowardly fashion at our nation's leader, striking our President in his glorious abdomen. The cowardly bullet then refused to exit the President's body, turning the wound gangrenous, a medical condition which can only be cured by amputation. A plan to save the President through an experimental "abdomendectomy" was briefly entertained before McKinley's sudden onset of death made the discussion irrelevant.

"Czolgosz's actions mark a turning point for this nation," stated one lawmaker. "We can no longer expect our presidents to remain sans bullet wounds if we do not engage these activists on their own level. We vow to take action, together with the members of Department of Justice, and other unnamed or unformed national security agencies. We are declaring war on anarchy."


Lawmakers have nearly unanimously approved the Department of Justice's recommendation that anarchists be hunted down and brought to justice before another such tragedy can occur. Citizens who have overheard derogatory comments about our fine Government are encouraged to report these occurrences to the Department of Justice by calling KL5-5503 between the hours of 8 am and 12 pm alternating Tuesdays. All calls are confidential and no information will be shared with anyone not currently on the party line.

"Anarchy isn't simply an ideology," stated one irate Congressman who wished to remain anonymous. "It's a threat to our American way of life, one that relies heavily on an unchallenged government and a careful blend of horse and automobile travel."

The Department of Justice has also recommended, in order to battle this rising tide of anarchy, our nation's telephone companies be required to transcribe every conversation occurring via this possibly dangerous communication device. A spokesman for the DOJ stated: "Czolgosz and his contemporaries were known 'early adopters,' and had been misusing our nascent 'talking boxes' to recruit Americans for anarchist activities, including fundraising picnics with no distinct starting time and a plan to violently overthrow the leadership currently controlling Ward 32."

The telephone, which allows young ne'er-do-wells to talk avidly of destroying the nation, is to be feared and distrusted, according to the Department. Its report, composed in great haste and at great length, recommends that all telephone companies build a secure room in which a security agent may be placed to record telephone conversations. This room will give the agent access to all phone lines as well as grant them the right to interrupt recorded conversations with requests to "slow down a bit," "please repeat that," and "English, motherfucker. Do you speak it?" All calls are to be dictated live to each agent's personal assistant, using a secure typewriter built to exacting and impossible specifications.


The Department's spokesman has pointed out that, despite listening in on every conversation transmitted via US phone lines, it only has an interest in suspicious conversations and derogatory comments about the US government (including derogatory comments about interruptions by surveillance agents). "Americans who harbor only warm, patriotic feelings towards our President and Government have nothing to worry about and should feel free to discuss any number of subjects without fear of recrimination, including sporting events, lurid gossip, suspicious goings on in the immigrant district, the superiority of the horse and buggy, violations of the "No Child Left Behind" labor law, non-lurid gossip, jazz as an overrated genre, the rejuvenating powers of Cooper's All-In-One Snake Oil™, gambling winnings over $500 and post-millennial anxiety."

An obviously insane lawmaker protested this proposition, claiming that transcribing every phone call made by American citizens is a clear violation of their "expectation of privacy." This phrase generated blank stares from nearly all in attendance at the proposal's mooting. One enraged Senator fired back: "We've been using 'moot point' incorrectly for several years now, no doubt due to the seeds of confusion sown by C... zolog... whatshisname and his ilk! It means 'something to be debated,' rather than 'something already decided!' Curse their anarchic blood!" Another responded: "Americans have no 'expectation of privacy' because any good American has nothing to hide. Speaking of which, we should require all markets and dry goods purveyors to log the names and addresses of those purchasing drapes, blinds and roll-down window shades!"

If the plan is adopted, the Department of Justice expects it will generate nearly 100,000 pages of banal conversation each day, spiking severely on Mothers' Day. These recorded conversations will be forwarded via courier to the home office in Washington DC where agents are expected to maintain a pace of 30 baseless extrapolations per 12-hour shift. "This is an undertaking of grave importance if the safety of the American public is to be ensured," stated a Department of Justice spokesman who wished remain anonymous and have his privacy respected. "The greatest threat to our nation is the free-thinking American citizen, whose lofty ideals and 'this system sucks' attitude pose a risk to the health and well-being of every elected official, except possibly Teddy Roosevelt, who has armed himself with a large stick and has already beaten two interlopers to death just this morning alone. Our war on anarchy and communication has no clear end point, but we will not be deterred or underfunded!"

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  • icon
    G Thompson (profile), 18 Feb 2013 @ 3:58am

    Well done... though I'm guessing everyone here including Tim thinks this is actually fake news.. The only thing really fake about it is that it states 1901 America instead of 2013 Australia

    Read and be amazed, mortified and scared of Australia's version of the Justice Department's request for data retention since it will if done in Australia come to the shores of the USA sooner than later!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    gnudist, 18 Feb 2013 @ 4:07am

    Nice onions

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Feb 2013 @ 4:08am

    if ever the old saying 'truer words are spoken in jest' were appropriate, this is it. what a cracking article! well done, that man! it is oh, so true today and spreading because of the attitude of 'democratic America. Land of the free, home of the brave, run by self centered, fear mongering morons'! funny how those Senators and Law Enforcement Officials expected to keep anonymity and privacy as long as everyone else lost theirs!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      greymatters, 18 Feb 2013 @ 9:52pm


      This is the beast that is Bureaucracy- In fact this story strongly reminds me of the Animal Farm allegory.
      "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Feb 2013 @ 4:13am

    No doubt the US government will have a major hissy fit when MEGA launches its secure Email, Chat, Voice and Mobile service.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 18 Feb 2013 @ 8:00am

    Perhaps we are on the wrong side of this. Let's push that the government record every communication we have and go through them all. Listen to every phone call, read every email, etc. Think of all the jobs it'll create!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 18 Feb 2013 @ 9:16am


      That sounds all fair and dandy but I can bet Greenpeace will be all over it claiming the storage needed will generate tons of technological waste. Think of the poor trees!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coogan (profile), 18 Feb 2013 @ 8:30am

    "cowardly bullet"

    I chuckled at this term. Sounds like a 1st level wizard spell.

    "Grigsby's Cowardly Bullet"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    special interesting, 19 Feb 2013 @ 3:39am


    Corruption is deep. Fear is even deeper. When a legislature fears is constituents is it time to elect new representatives?

    Does this legislation achieve any successful intervention besides the contrived prosecution scenarios? (example FBI prosecutes individuals for plots conceived by the FBI or CIA or whatever themselves?)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    dennis deems (profile), 19 Feb 2013 @ 10:22am

    post-millennial anxiety

    You mean centennial? Am I missing something?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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