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How Sharing Your Best Porn Can Save Lives

Dozens of previously undisclosed classified documents, provided to Over the Line by Edward J. Snowden's cousin Ralphie, show that global intelligence agencies have not only been spying on the local populace, but routinely tapping into each other's big data centers and electronically vacuuming out each other's erotica collections.

Some history: According to a redacted planning memo to assure that both caffeinated and decaffeinated beverages would be served at the coffee break, global spy agencies gathered at an offsite and agreed there was little point in everyone collecting, say, the 25 million cell phone calls placed each day in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Syria. "I mean, here we are trying to figure out if  'Be sure and look up Omar and congratulate him on losing 43 kilograms by eating just .651340 grams a day for 39 days and .774902 seconds' is code for 'Let's blow up the ski jump at Sochi,' and over in the next country a bunch of other spy guys are trying to figure out the same thing, like we all have a competitive entrance exam to work at Google," read one of the recent documents.

Consequently, the group divided up the world by technologies, with the Chinese Ministry of State Security assigned to hack past every firewall they could find. MI6 got mobile games, the Defense Intelligence Agency got Facebook, the Office of Naval Intelligence got Skype, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service got Pinterest, the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence got Yahoo, etc. -- until everything that could be collected was assigned to one agency or another. The goal was to reduce redundancy, with everything dumped in a big pot so that anyone could access say, address books, buddy lists, telephone logs and the geographic data embedded in photographs when someone sent a post to the mobile versions of Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, or Twitter.

But then the trouble began.

It turned out that some "intelligence" is more fun to collect and analyze than others. For example, it took sifting through 257 million phone calls about "Did you feed the dog?" and "I just missed the 6:08" before an Al-Qaeda leader, rushing out the door because he saw a drone with his name on it, yelled at a junior associate to JUST HANDLE IT -- and "Saif says we should just blow up a bus in Kashmir next Thursday" was left in a voice mailbox. Meanwhile, the spies assigned to Snapchat and Skype were entertained by a steady flow of naked co-eds and transcontinental mutual masturbation videos -- which they naturally declined to put in the communal Big Pot of Secret Stuff.

"You know, we get these really smart recruits from MIT, Cal Tech and Rensselaer -- and making them watch Angela Merkel play Angry Birds day in and day out just doesn't match up with their James Bond fantasies," one ranking black-ops kinda guy told OTL. "At least if they got to see the good stuff once in a while, they'd be motivated to disrupt a terrorist plot once in a blue moon."

When all the other agencies stuck with watching subway entrance videos and the Facebook timelines of 16-year-old Islamic fundamentalists realized that their associates weren't "sharing," they started tapping into each other's Don't-Ask-What-Happens-In-This-18-Mile-Long-Room-of-Servers. Pretty soon tebibytes of data turned into pebibytes, then exbibytes, and everyone got so overwhelmed (not to mention preoccupied with naked selfies) that they were 14 months too late in realizing that Saif and friends were planning to blow up a bus in Kashmir.

The lesson here is pretty simple: Always share your best porn.

Tags: privacy
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