Wiretaps and Tinfoil Hats: The Privacy Quiz

By: Staff
Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Before Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the National Security Agency's surveillance of American citizens, tales of that kind of privacy infringement may have sounded delusional. Test your knowledge of what's conspiracy and what's not in our quiz.

True or false: The U.S. government has dabbled in mind control.

True! The CIA conducted mind-control experiments from the 1950s until the 1970s, when the agency switched to studying clairvoyance instead.

What were the CIA's mind-control experiments that started in the 1950s called?

During the Cold War, the CIA carried out secret mind-control experiments under Project MK-ULTRA.

True or false: The U.S. government has a weaponized weather control program.

True -- sort of. Alaska's HAARP (High-frequency Active Aurora Research Project) is a real research station, but some believe its highly concentrated radio waves could be used to create targeted disasters.

Which Air Force base is Area 51 associated with?

Area 51 is associated with Edwards Air Force Base.

How many countries reportedly participated in the CIA's secret "black site" detention prison program?

Fifty-four countries were reportedly part of the CIA's black sites; many, but not all, have reputations of human rights abuses.

Who is Deep Throat?

Mark Felt is the identity of Deep Throat, the whistleblower in the Watergate scandal.

True or false: No plane wreckage was found at the Pentagon crash site on 9/11.

False. Despite conspiracy theories suggesting otherwise, plane wreckage -- including a black box -- was found inside and outside the Pentagon on 9/11.

Which heavy metal musician implied that Obama staged shootings to garner support for a gun ban?

Dave Mustaine of Megadeth spoke to a Singapore audience about his theory that Obama staged shootings to gain support for more restrictive gun laws.

Between 1956 and 1971, the FBI ran a program called COINTELPRO; what did the program do?

COINTELPRO was a counterintelligence program designed for the surveillance and disruption of domestic groups such as the Black Panther Party and the Socialist Workers Party.

What percentage of people with Internet access actually read online privacy policies and terms of service agreements?

Fewer than 2 percent -- only 1.4 percent -- of people surveyed claimed to read privacy policies often and thoroughly.

What percentage of Americans think Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone?

Just 32 percent of Americans polled believe Oswald carried out the Kennedy assassination alone.

What does the acronym PRISM stand for?

PRISM is an NSA surveillance program, and the acronym stands for Planning tool for Resource Integration, Synchronization and Management.

What percentage of new cars sold in the U.S. today are equipped with black boxes?

Nearly all cars -- 96 percent -- sold to Americans today come equipped with black boxes to track your driving.

According to rumor, where did the U.S. government experiment with time travel, teleportation and parallel dimensions?

The Montauk Air Force Station on Long Island was the site of the U.S. government's rumored time travel experiments.

True or false: The Treasury Department intentionally poisoned booze in the 1920s.

True. The Treasury Department intentionally poisoned liquor with methyl alcohol, kerosene, gasoline and chloroform in the 1920s to discourage drinking.

When will/did RFID chip implants become mandatory for Americans?

At this time. the government has not announced plans to implement a national RFID chip program in the U.S.

What types of information might be included in a national ID system?

All of these types of information could be included in a national ID database, everything from your photo and passport records to your health records and e-mail communications.

True or false: North Dakota isn't a state; it's a government conspiracy.

False. Despite government conspiracy theories that surfaced during the '80s suggesting it was an area housing underground military bunkers or an unused piece of land buffering our border with Canada, North Dakota is a real state.

Which of the following is collected by the U.S. Postal Service under its Mail Isolation Control and Tracking surveillance program?

The USPS photographs the exterior of every piece of mail you send, which includes names, addresses, return addresses and postmark locations; opening mail would require a warrant.

The Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program launched in 2001; how many pieces of mail were photographed and cataloged by the USPS in 2012 alone?

About 160 billion letters and parcels were photographed under the surveillance program.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes