The Wax Conspiracy

Time to bank on stocks and socks falling out from NSA surveillance

Diluvian revelations never stop when it comes to the overreach of the NSA. Every week sheds a little more light on how far warrantless wiretapping and communication logging can help us make money, or absolve us of not breaking into a bank.

Time and place can put you anywhere. It can also put you nowhere. When the feds come a knocking down your forehead and cracking a rib or two before they show you the piece of paper they call a punch to the face, you're getting nicked if you don't front up your exact whereabouts to explain away the blood on your hands.

Sometimes all it takes to vindicate sweeping snooping with a "there! you see!? it's a national service in your interest" is a simple heist to help clear the air and make things right again. Or at least some would hope. Cry rejoice then by the alibi advocates as the United States' National Security Agency is getting roped into a domestic dispute.


One South Florida man, [Terrance Brown,] accused in a series of bank robbery attempts is hoping the recent revelation that the federal government is secretly keeping millions of U.S. phone records could help his defense. [...] [Brown's attorney Marshall Dore Louis] argued in court Wednesday that the government should be forced to turn over phone location records for two cellphones Brown may have used because it could prove he was not present for one of the attempted bank robberies, on July 26 on Federal Highway in Lighthouse Point.

Of course, a smartphone constantly pinging your whereabouts isn't the same as an ankle monitor. You don't have to be wearing the smartphone for it to place itself at a certain time and location. Brown better hope he was making calls during that time because then that would be closer to the full-tethered tracking we so desperately crave in a time of text messages asking "where r u?" at two in the morning. After all, it looks like it wasn't just meta data being sucked up by the vacuum of surveillance.

For those of us who still wander life without geocoding our photos or doffing fortune cookie-sized missives, tracking the whereabouts and whenabouts falls back to keeping Christmas stockings full of receipts.

Spurring the validation of antics of all those sitting at their rear windows spying their neighbours is one thing. It's another to boost a dwindling market. The NSA may well also be in leagues with European typewriter manufacturers.

First it was the Russians with their electric typewriters, and now Germany are eyeing the same,

In an appearance Monday morning on German public television, [Patrick Sensburg, chairman of the German parliament's National Security Agency investigative committee,] said that the committee is taking its operational security very seriously. "In fact, we already have [a typewriter], and it’s even a non-electronic typewriter," he said.

Why would these governments consider taking up the tinkering clickety-clackety of hammer strikes instead of turning off the Wi-Fi or unplugging their tailored computers from the network? Maybe they were all given Chromebooks. Someone has got to be buying them.

For fans of the NSA, now is the time to soldier on and stick a foot in at least two renewed markets. Brokerage on selling Peeping Tom records to help clear your neighbour's name, and taking a look at shares of typewriter manufacturers.

It's the type of insider trading we can make while waiting for orange juice.

Ethan Switch

Written on Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Wax Conspiracy

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