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New game plays Mad Libs with NSA censorship

Blackbar, a new app for iOS, is a fun play on the NSA’s love of redacting words with thick black bars.


Gaby Dunn


Blackbar, a new app for iOS, is a fun play on the National Security Agency’s love of redacting critical information with thick black bars.

As evidenced by the recently released Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruling that found parts NSA’s Internet surveillance programs unconstitutional, the agency will block out paragraphs, if not entire pages, when deemed necessary.

Blackbar tries to fill back in the blanks. The text-based political game parodies the secrecy of the documents. It’s like Mad Libs for Internet freedom.

In it, you play Vi, a character who is getting letters from Kentry, a friend working for the Department of Communications. The letters are blacked out in spots, and you have to figure out what Kentry is trying to say to go on to the next part of the game.

The censored words, names, and dates are blacked out because they’re “violations of department code.” Eventually the game begins to piece together a narrative. Can you solve the puzzle?

Blackbar is available on iOs for $2.99.

H/T The Verge | Photo via Clint Gardner/Flickr

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