German cops looking for “United Stasi of America” prankster

German police are on the hunt for a man who briefly projected the phrase “United Stasi of America” onto the U.S. embassy in Berlin.

The German newspaper Der Spiegel reported that a city spokesperson confirmed Friday they were searching for the man, suspected of violating a law against “insulting organs and representatives of foreign countries.” 

There’s little doubt of who did it. Late Sunday evening, light artist Oliver Bienkowski filmed himself driving near the embassy, setting up the light projection, then leaving after getting harassed by a woman who appears to be either a cop or security guard.

Bienkowski appears to be upset with revelations that through programs like PRISM, the NSA spies on, well, pretty much everyone, and that any foreigner can easily be tracked. Germans, in particular, are thought to be the NSA’s biggest European targets.

Somewhat confusingly, Bienkowski also projected MEGA founder Kim Dotcom’s face along with the message, apparently in homage to his outspoken pro-privacy, anti-U.S. government sentiments. NPR reported that Bienkowski got Dotcom’s permission beforehand, and the Mega man tweeted his approval afterwards:

Even if Bienkowski gets off without a fine, the project will wasn’t free. He told Der Spiegel the project cost him €5,000(US $6,523) out of his own pocket. 

Screengrab via CavemanGermany/YouTube

Kevin Collier

Kevin Collier

A former senior politics reporter for the Daily Dot, Kevin Collier focuses on privacy, cybersecurity, and issues of importance to the open internet. Since leaving the Daily Dot in March 2016, he has served as a reporter for Vocativ and a cybersecurity correspondent for BuzzFeed.