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The U.S. Government Created A Joyfully Paranoid Travel PSA So Your Secrets Don’t Get Stolen

Apparently, Summer 2016 is the season of the hilarious morbid and paranoid government PSAs. First, we were gifted with these safety ads from the LA Metro, which had no compunction of sending some sweet, dopey stick figures to their violent deaths for not following train safety rules. Then, we were given all sorts of guidelines for what not to bring to the Olympics. And now, because we live in an age where everyone learns best from videos, we have a government travel abroad PSA which is here to convince you that foreign governments are spying on you as soon as they check your passport at the airport.

The PSA follows a hapless businessman from Sierra, California, who travels to some unnamed foreign country. He thinks he’s going to have a good time, but as soon as his passport is scanned at the airport, a flashing read “INITIATE SURVEILLANCE” button comes up. At his hotel, the clerk tells him to “enjoy his stay,” as ominously as possible, then texts his room number to some layabout in a leather jacket leaning against a brick apartment building. Plus, there’s a camera already set up in his room. The layabout— actually a SPY — sneaks into his room and downloads encrypted files (and probably his internet search history, which he can then use for blackmail).

Why so much intrigue and treachery? According to The Verge, this is all so that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence can convince you that you don’t need to bring electronics with you overseas. You can get a nice disposable phone once you’ve arrived instead. You can also set up a “throwaway email account.” And that’s not just for high-powered businesspeople! It’s for ordinary Americans who wouldn’t conceivably have any intelligence secrets. Still, if you’re a businessman like Frank — of course his name is Frank — the story is that foreign businesses will want that proprietary information that’s on your iPad.

The lesson we should all learn is not to have fun or let your guard down at all. Safe travels!

(via The Verge)

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