Man Suggests Nature Walk To Observe NSA Spies Threatened Habitat; Has Law Enforcement Visit His Habitat

from the nsa:-no-satire-allowed dept

Facebook continues to be an intelligence operative's best friend. Many of its users subvert any sort of expectation of privacy simply by leaving their accounts on the default settings. (This also works out well for Mark Zuckerberg.) Anything set to the public default can and, apparently, will be seen.

If you want to make a joke about the NSA, feel free. Just don't be surprised if it gets a response.
Normally, Daniel Bangert's Facebook posts tend to be of the serious variety. The 28-year-old includes news items and other bits of interest he encounters throughout the day. "I rarely post funny pictures," he says.

Recently, though, he decided to liven up his page with something a bit more amusing -- and decided to focus on the scandal surrounding the vast Internet surveillance perpetrated by the US intelligence service NSA. He invited his friends on an excursion to the top secret US facility known as the Dagger Complex in Griesheim, where Bangert is from.

He described the outing as though it were a nature walk. He wrote on Facebook that its purpose was to undertake "joint research into the threatened habitat of NSA spies." He added: "If we are really lucky, we might actually see a real NSA spy with our own eyes." He suggested that those interested in coming should bring along their cameras and "flowers of all kinds to improve the appearance of the NSA spies' habitat."
Few of Bangert's friends took him up on his offer. However, he did receive some queries from some other interested parties. Four days after his post, he received a phone call from the local police who wished to discuss the post. Unfortunately for Bangert, this phone call was interrupted.
Bangert's doorbell rang at almost the exact same time. The police on the telephone told him to talk with the officers outside of his door. Bangert quickly put on a T-shirt -- which had a picture of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden on it along with the words "Team Edward" -- and answered the door.

Bangert says he answered all of the questions truthfully, saying that, yes, his intention was that of heading out to watch the spies. "The officers did smirk a bit," he notes.
So, how did the local police hear of Bangert's "event?" According to the spokesperson, US military police had come across the post first and passed the info along. Apparently, this information wasn't done traveling, resulting in Bangert receiving yet another phone call.
Not long later, Bangert got another call asking him to report to Central Commissariat 10 of the German federal police. They too then sent an officer to his home. "The wanted to know if I had connections with (anarchist groups) or other violent people," Bangert says. He told the officers that he didn't, repeating over and over that he "just wanted to go for a walk."
The federal police were less amused by Bangert's post (he was called *gasp* a "smart aleck"), but unable to find anything damning, they resorted to more bureaucratic forms of dissuasion -- suggesting Bangert secure a permit for his "demonstration." They also told him not to post anything on the web about their visit. Bangert met them halfway.
Bangert took their first piece of advice, registering his "demonstration" even though, as he says, "it wasn't supposed to be one." But he ignored the police's second suggestion and reported on their visit on his Facebook page. "How much more proof do you need," he wrote. "Everyone says that they aren't affected. But then I invite people for a walk and write obvious nonsense in the invitation and suddenly the federal police show up at my home."
Bangert's story spread to the local media, resulting in his "nature walk" being joined by another 70 people who wished to view spies in their natural habitat. It also attracted a police "escort" comprised of squad cars bookending Bangert's group. Although attempts were made to coax the spies out of their offices for closer observation, the walk ended without any actual spy sightings.

Bangert wisely neither confirms nor denies reports there will be more "nature walks" in the future.
So is he planning a repeat? "I didn't say that and I didn't write it anywhere," Bangert replies.
This particular incident ended amicably, without arrests or conjecture about terrorist activities. But it only takes one overreaction for things to go horribly worse, and the more reponding entities there are, the higher the chance is that this might offcur. It also clearly indicates that American operatives are exercising active surveillance on German citizens' online activities, something German citizens aren't exactly thrilled about, especially when the local US military base has the power to send officials after anyone who offends the "sensibilities" of their permanent visitors.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 10:44am

    That's what you get when you go for a nature walk without getting informed of the species native to the place. This Haliaeetus leucocephalus variant actually thinks you can turn cameras into mass destruction laz0r weapons so if you want to see them you have to conceal your cameras.

     

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

  2.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 12:48pm

    Please don't spy on the spies.

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    froonium, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 12:57pm

    Perhaps the spooks should have taken a different tack and read what Bangert posted in the voice of Sir David Attenborough.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 1:08pm

    You guys just wait until we outlaw intelligence. Then me and my kind will really rule over you smart-asses!

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 1:14pm

    Re:

    Be careful what you wish for, because if you were ruling, there would be a revolution in about 5 minutes.

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 1:21pm

    Funny. Spies don't like being spied on in the same way bullies don't like being bullied. Gotta love the double standard of people.

     

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

  7. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 1:32pm

    Re:

    Funny. Spies don't like being spied on in the same way bullies don't like being bullied. Gotta love the double standard of people.

    Ah Techdirt, where everyone professes to love competition as long as the "big, bad" incumbent is losing to the always-noble little guy.

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 1:36pm

    Have another report click ootb. Always-noble you ain't. You can't even stretch false claims into something sounding reasonable.

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 2:04pm

    This is sending a message. Not sure what it is though

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 2:08pm

    Re:

    I'm all for intelligence when it's not be directed at innocent people that have zero intelligence to provide. Spying on the world to catch a few crooks is not worth it when such operations will drunken people with power and turn them into evil crooked mother fuckers.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    naprotector, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 2:20pm

    ootb's Comment

    You guys just wait until we outlaw intelligence. Then me and my kind will really rule over you smart-asses!

    We already know stupid people are in power, what else is new?

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 2:20pm

    "So, how did the local police hear of Bangert's 'event'?". Um...monitoring Facebook, maybe?

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 2:29pm

    Poor Daniel Bangert. He's going to be put on a permanent 'watch list' for the rest of his life now.

    I strongly suggest everyone to stop using Spybook.com

     

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

  14.  
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    AD, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 3:15pm

    Re: Re:

    Love it! lol

     

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  15.  
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    Michael, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 5:26pm

    If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around, does the NSA still record it?

     

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  16.  
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    ShellMG (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 5:38pm

    Guess I'll 'fess right now, if I see any government moles in my yard I'm gonna shoot 'em with my .44. I need the practice and those damn critters are eating my squash leaves.

    I'm more likely to run into trouble with coyote of the four-legged variety if I were to venture into the state rec that surrounds my street, but I'll remember to watch for the cameras and drones.

     

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  17.  
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    Pixelation, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 5:40pm

    Spy vs spy.

    This must be an excerpt from Mad magazine.

     

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

  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 7:19pm

    I thought they were going by "If you got nothing to hide then your fine". Guess they have something to hide.

     

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

  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 7:38pm

    And who said zee Germans had no humour?

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    David Conrad, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 7:49pm

    Theme Song

    Now playing: Watching the Detectives

     

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

  21.  
    icon
    Xyzzy (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 9:54pm

    Re: Theme Song

    I was thinking more along the lines of Jethro Tull's "Watching Me Watching You" (and the way he stares, feel like locking my door and pulling my phone from the wall...he's still watching me, watching you watching him watching me)

     

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

  22.  
    icon
    Bergman (profile), Jul 18th, 2013 @ 2:12am

    I wonder...

    ...did those police file for and receive a parade permit?

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2013 @ 5:23am

    Re:

    Of course. They collect EVERYTHING, remember?

     

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

  24.  
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    martyburns (profile), Jul 18th, 2013 @ 5:32am

    Re: Re:

    What?

     

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

  25.  
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    Anonymous Howard (profile), Jul 18th, 2013 @ 6:00am

    Re:

    Can anyone tell me what the f*** the usa is doing in germany? (this happened in germany, with a german citizen, right?)

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    [REDACTED], Jul 18th, 2013 @ 6:14am

    [REDACTED]

    Government Trolls Yottabytes Of Data; Fails To Locate Sense Of Humour

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    Dogbreath, Jul 18th, 2013 @ 8:58am

    Re: Re: Theme Song

    Or even Rockwell's "I always feel like somebody's watching me"

    These days, even if you are paranoid, someone IS watching you.

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2013 @ 10:42am

    Who watch the watchers?

     

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

  29.  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Jul 18th, 2013 @ 1:58pm

    Re:

    Just the location. And the location of the surrounding trees.

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 3:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Theme Song

    And let's not forget Hall & Oates' "Private Eyes".
    There's also Donna Summer's "Eyes" ("And there's always someone watching...Eyes".)

     

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

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2013 @ 9:13am

    Re:

    Report??? I clicked Funny, that was hilarious!

    Seriously, pay attention, that was not the troll, that was someone making fun of him.

     

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


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