My NSA Agent and I

Valerie Wu, Features Editor

[This article is satire.]

Is the government spying on us? Recently, reports of Alexas laughing at their customers and other in-home voice assistants like Google Home serving as government-issued vessels have been proliferating the Internet.

In the wake of the 2013 Snowden leaks, these encounters (is that you, Bob from NSA?) are more relevant than ever. Considering the growing relationship between technology and the media, it’s no surprise that Internet-enabled home devices may be conduits for  government agents watching us go about our day-to-day lives.

But instead of treating these devices with suspicion, maybe we should reflect on their purpose. Is it really malicious? Or is the government just trying to understand us better? The Voice took a look at this phenomenon, and what it can tell us about the relationship between our devices and us.


The NSA agent watching me through my computer knows everything about me.

As a Pres student, that means that all my late night sessions of working on CRPs and eating three containers of blueberries in an hour are exposed. It also means that every time I open up an incognito browser window, I can sometimes hear my NSA agent cackling through the keyboard.

In my opinion, being my assigned agent is a privilege. Having the opportunity to look at cat videos several times a day and different brands of sheet masks is both informative and thrilling. Being my NSA agent means that every day, you’re subjected to high quality content.

Recently, though, I’ve started wondering whether my NSA agent is having as much fun as I am.

Watching me search up “Yuzuru Hanyu’s skating performance” for the billionth time can’t really be fun. Being a first hand witness to my venting about how my One Direction fanfiction possessed Pulitzer Prize-quality can’t possibly be much fun either.

Looking at possible motivations, I can understand the whole federal surveillance part of the Espionage Act. As far as I know, though, my selfies have been harmless so far. They’re no threat to national security, which is what the NSA should be monitoring, right?

Sure, having an NSA agent watching you means that you can rest assured that your incriminating posts are monitored for content. But is it really worth it if you don’t get your needed emotional support? I’m still wondering where my NSA agent was when I was crying over a failed math test, or really just wanted reassurance that I was doing well.

It’s interesting that “plastic surgery” follows “T.S. Eliot and the American Dream” in my search history,  but it isn’t helpful if your NSA agent won’t help you perfect your MLA formatting.

If you think about it, maybe my agent is just staying on the sidelines. Maybe it’s less about the spying, and more about the guarding. The agent monitoring my Internet activity might actually be rooting for me.

In that case, I’ll just name her Susan.