They know everything about us but we know nothing about them. Now you can change that. Call-A-Spy lets you call up agents of the secret services, find out who they are, why they spy for a living and what they think of Pokémon GO. Get to know the people who surveil you and call a spy!
Call-A-Spy uses modern technology to establish a connection to one of thousands of internal phone numbers of secret service employees in USA, Germany, UK, Canada and France. Calls are routed through a virtual private network and cannot be traced back. We offer Call-A-Spy in three separate formats: Game Show, Workshop and Installation.
The Call-A-Spy Show is an entertaining and enlightening journey into the psyche of the secret services. Three brave contestants put their communication skills to the test, competing in a number of challenges, all involving live phone calls with unsuspecting agents. 80% improvised, each show is different depending on who the contestants are and who they reach on the end of the line. The goal is to make them laugh, make them cry, but just don’t let them hang up!
Our gameshow format is radical theatre at its best. It tips the power balance between citizens and the secret services through the innocent fun of a prank call. It can be staged in theaters and conferences. A stable internet connection, sound system and stage is required. Full show recording is available on request.
Confront your fears of mass surveillance or satisfy your curiosity about the shadowy world of the secret services. In the Call-A-Spy workshop our coaches will guide you through a series of steps. You will develop strategies, experiment with conversation starters and learn how to extract information from secret service agents. Our coaches share advice and experiences from previous workshop participants and connect you with a call centre professional.
The workshop format provides all the excitement of calling spies in the comfort of a guided group experience. Participants work in pairs and are supported by coaches on hand with expert knowledge and advice on how avoid obstacles in conversation with spies. Workshops can be held for groups of up to 20 people in both English and German.
The Call-A-Spy installation offers a private way for everyday citizens to call up agents of the secret services, one on one. After hearing some pre-recorded information about the intelligence agencies and the people who work there, you can choose which country you want to reach and within a matter of seconds be talking to a real spy. It's exciting, it's fun, and it's opening a door to the most isolated people who have the world’s most intimate data at their fingertips.
The Call-A-Spy installation has been set up at Logan Symposium Berlin, HMKV Dortmund, DIG Conference Italy, Berlin Biennale, HCPP Prague, La Gaîté Lyrique, Kunsthal Charlottenborg and Manifesta 12 Biennial in Palermo.
The Call-A-Spy installation consists of one or more phones, connected to our Call-A-Spy server, enabling a connection to several secret service agencies. The installation can be set up in museums, conferences, art shows, etc. A stable internet connection is required.
We are happy to set up any of the Call-A-Spy formats at your venue. For more information and booking requests, please contact email@example.com.
„Until now secret services have been something abstract, something that I didn't have a clear picture of. But now something human shines through. [...] The NSA has become less of a threatening impenetrable fortress. And suddenly you become a protagonist and make a rare and emotional experience.“
„Of course you can consider 'Call A Spy' as pure entertainment at the expense of important authorities. As nonsense. But [...] it is important to remind them from time to time, that there are real humans out there, who they have a duty to serve. In any case: It was a big fun!“
People tend to think that we hired actors and actresses to play the spies on the phone. We didn’t. You will talk to real spies from real secret service agencies and you will probably disrupt their working hours.
No. Each call is routed through a virtual private network that masks the original source of the call. Numbers of the chosen agency are being selected randomly from our database. Each number is used only one time, so you will never talk to the same spy twice.
For the US, we currently have the NSA, DHS, FBI as well as the IARPA, IC IG, NIC, DNI and private subcontractors like Verint, TeleStrategies and Cambridge Intelligence. In the UK, the GCHQ and the M15 as well as some subcontractors. In Germany: the BND, BSI, BVA, BfV, MAD, their subcontractors like Trovicor, DigiTask and the federal state secret services (Landesverfassungsschutz). In France the DGSI und SCRT and the CSIS in Canada. We are constantly updating the database with new numbers.
Possibly. It still makes sense to call the international agencies since global mass surveillance is well, global. However if you have ideas on how to get the numbers of your local secret service (like through good investigative journalist friends), let’s talk.
Surveillance affects us all and we are trying to find creative ways for the public to engage with this difficult issue. And every minute a spy is on the phone with you, is a minute they can't do their work!
This argument is often used to justify mass surveillance but there is actually very little evidence to prove it's true. Studies show the opposite: it's rare that terrorists get caught through this kind of surveillance. Here is a sample study by the New America Foundation.
Call-A-Spy is a project of the Peng! collective. We are a group of activists, artists and scientists who use culture jamming, media hacks and unconventional campaigning tactics to promote civil disobedience and shift public discourse.