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MSNBC TV
updated 7/29/2013 3:47:25 PM ET 2013-07-29T19:47:25

Think you understand the National Security Agency's surveillance? Try hiding.

Kevin Roose wore a silly, red hat every time he went outside last Friday. Why? He’s hiding from the feds, of course.

Wired with tiny light bulbs connected to a nine-volt battery, New York writer Roose created the hat to foil infrared surveillance by obscuring his face. On a surveillance camera, he’ll simply show up as blurry orb of light. Not the most discreet disguise, but also not identifiable.

The hat was one of the many tricks and tools Roose used to try and go off the grid for a full 24 hours.  In order to combat all the potential surveillance that could be run by the National Security Agency, foreign spies, and even security cameras, Roose donned his hat, wrapped his phone in tinfoil, and used an encrypted internet connection. He covered computer cameras with tape and carefully protected his text messages from being read by others. He did everything short of wearing a tin-foil hat to keep himself off the grid.

Did it work?

“I don’t know if I was able to accomplish it, only the NSA would be able to tell you that,” Roose said on Monday’s Morning Joe.  “My goal was to make my footprint as small as possible…If I were to estimate, I’d say I eliminated 80% to 90% of the surveillance on me. But even that might be a figment of my imagination.”

Hiding from the feds—and other surveillance-running parties—isn’t easy.

“You basically have to become a tin-foil hat paranoiac,” he said.

Watch below for the full discussion with Roose on surveillance.

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