Last week we met Dunk, the NSA's captivatingly weird Earth Day mascot, and now it looks like he's not the only anthropomorphic creature in the NSA family.
I went to the RSA security conference last week, and returned with a prize: an NSA-themed coloring book. To help spread its message, the NSA has produced a coloring book. You know, for kids.
The book, America's CryptoKids: Future Codemakers and Cokebreakers, tells the story of a team of talking animals, who, when they're not spying on you, spend their time shredding on the guitar and playing friendly games of lacrosse. While also spying on you, of course. By the time I found the National Security Agency booth on the expo floor at last week’s RSA Conference, all the best shwag was gone. The most prized giveaway was a faux-leather Post-it Note kit bearing the agency’s seal.
The CryptoKids website is designed to teach children that codebreaking and surveillance work is fun, and patriotic, and performed by an awesomely outrageous cast of cartoon animals. “We can’t print enough of those,” the agency rep manning the booth told me. “Next year, we are going to make the seal even bigger. Kids will really like that, like a badge to show their friends at school.” Is it strange that the NSA, which takes such care to stay out of the public eye, should be so keen to capture the attention and aspirations of the young?
While I wasn’t able to score any government-issue school supplies, and none of the representatives could tell me if the NSA was still operating out of the hermetic former AT&T fiber optic hub down the street at 2nd and Folsom, I did walk away with a copy of the “CryptoKids Fun Book”, images from which you can see below.
Which anthropomorphic Myers-Briggs Type crypto-kid are you? I’m Decipher Dog, always looking for “the hidden messages behind the words, symbols and sounds,” and reading the latest robot news in Cryptobyte Monthly. That said, I don’t condone Dog’s habit of wearing shoes in bed and looking at kitty porn on his laptop. You bad dog you.