In 2010, the NSA started collecting photographs from emails, Skype, and social media in order to build a face database for their disturbingly Skynet-esque anti-terrorism computers. Curiously enough, #ThrowbackThursday became wildly popular on Instagram shortly afterward. Regardless of whether or not the NSA started it, the trend is certainly an effective tool for gathering images. Over 200 million photos have been uploaded with the hashtag. And that's only counting Instagram ... in 2014.
Think about it. People change their appearances all the time. They get fat, grow beards, go through weird Linkin Park phases, etc. As you collect more information about someone's past, you not only gain a sense of what they used to look like, but you can also make an estimated guess about what they could look like. So when you post a #ThrowbackThursday photo of your favorite Halloween costume, the NSA now knows what you look like while hiding under a clever disguise.
National Security Agency
"Put that sorority's costume kegger pics on my private sever. I'm going to investigate them personally."
It would be ingenious if true. Even though 78 percent of Americans have some sort of social media presence, there's still a good chunk of the population un-spied-upon by the NSA. #ThrowbackThursday would allow the NSA to view photos of people who normally don't post anything on social media. You may think that you're being cute by uploading Dad's old tennis photos from college, but in reality, you're making it easier for the government to nail him for his illegal Four Loko bootlegging operation.
Bryce Riley owns a fine collection of tin foil hats. You can tweet him @brycenator2323 or follow him on Tumblr at brycenator.tumblr.com.
Deep inside us all -- behind our political leanings, our moral codes, and our private biases -- there is a cause so colossally stupid that we surprise ourselves with how much we care. Whether it's toilet paper position, fedoras on men, or Oxford commas, we each harbor a preference so powerful we can't help but proselytize to the world. In this episode of the Cracked podcast, guest host Soren Bowie is joined by Cody Johnston, Michael Swaim, and comedian Annie Lederman to discuss the most trivial things we will argue about until the day we die. Get your tickets here!
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