Wednesday, March 31, 2004

IRS Announces WYSKster

US Government Announces WYSKster
Social networking space collapses

Washington, DC (Rooters) — Capitalizing on the recent popularity of social networking applications, the Internal Revenue Service today announced its newest service, a social networking site at

Commissioner Mark W. Everdaughter explained the logic behind the site, known as “WYSKster” to site designers. “For the first time, the US government is taking advantage of its tremendous information assets for the benefit of US citizens.” At a press conference this morning, Everdaughter elaborated on those assets:
Site designers demonstrated how WYSKster will work: “You punch in your social security number, and you’re presented with a series of menus: Who You Knew, Who You Know, and Who You Should Know. Who You Knew includes past girlfriends and boyfriends, lost classmates and family members, and anyone you owe money. Who You Know includes your spouse, children, criminal associates, suspected terrorist connections, and professional colleagues. What really makes WYSKster stand apart from the other sites is Who You Should Know. Based on a comprehensive profile we build of each US citizen, we can say with 98% accuracy who any one individual should know.”

When asked how the site would prevent users from punching in someone else’s social security number, Everdaughter said it was impossible. “We’re running Windows Update on all of our servers, so we’re confident that we’re completely secure. Besides — who knows anyone else’s social security number? That’s why the word ‘security’ is in there.”

IRS officials downplayed other, earlier social networking sites. “What do they have? A few thousand friends of friends of some Google programmer? Big deal. We have everybody who’s ever been arrested, paid taxes, bought something with a credit card, or flown on a plane. You think we can’t create a network out of that?! And besides — with those other sites, you have to fill out all that data. With us, we do all the hard work to gather the data — citizens just get to benefit from it!”

Everdaughter announced that WYSKster will be run by former Total Information Awareness Director John M. Poindexter. “Admiral Poindexter brings a unique skillset to this project,” explained Everdaughter. “In his time at DARPA he came to understand how much people want the government to help them manage their personal lives, and when we explained how WYSKster would work, he jumped at the chance to join up.”

In what is believed to be a first, WYSKster was created without a single dollar of taxpayer money. Former Stanford University Provost and current National Security Advisor Candy Rice’s Palo Alto connections came in handy for what is believed to be a first in government: a venture capital funded government enterprise.

Dick Clark, a former senior government official named who asked not to be identified, elaborated on the VC-backed WYSKster. “We modeled WYSKSter’s funding model on the friends and family program that [Vice President Dick] Cheney started with KBR and Halliburton. That guy really pioneered the whole public/private partnership model.”

Once word of WYSKster hit Silicon Valley, IRS officials were overwhelmed by pitches by VC firms who had missed out on the initial social networking frenzy. “I’ll be honest,” said a senior partner at New Synergy Paradigm Ventures who asked to be identified. “I still don’t get the whole business model. But with the kind of data the US government has? These other guys don’t have a chance. WYSKster will be to social networking what the US Government is to Iraq.”

Asked about rumors that Google was in talks to acquire WYSKster, some other guy said it was unlikely. “Google’s founder Sergey Brain has been pretty clear that he sees WYSKster as the most evil thing he’s ever heard of. I think the only way he’d buy it is if he could kill it. Which, given that the US Government is behind it, is pretty unlikely.”

Privacy advocates were concerned about WYSKster’s announcement, but when reached for comment, EPIC President Mark Rottenberg could only be heard weeping softly in the background.

Social Networking Against the Government (SNAG), an industry group represented by the law firm of Russell & Tate, hopes to stop WYSKster before it grows too strong. “The Federal Government can’t possibly understand the complexities of who wants to date whom,” said Friendster investor and Yahoo! co-founder Tim Google. “Don’t they have someone to invade?”

Industry analysts predicted a bright future for WYSKster. “This is a win-win,” said an analyst with JupiterResearch. “You combine the efficiency of the US Government with their record of handling sensitive information, and you can’t lose. A site like this would never have been possible before the Patriot Act, but you have to hand it to the government: they really leveraged their core assets and took the whole medium in a direction nobody else saw coming. This could be worth trillions or more.”

Future versions of WYSKster will incorporate data from President Bush’s Temporary Worker Program, terrorist organizations, and anyone who listens to Air America Radio.

WYSKster is currently in beta and will be available to anyone with a valid social security number shortly after April 15.


  1. IRS Announces WYSKster

    The fun has begun, and Rick was first!

  2. THAT is just frightening and a bit too close to the truth!

    Get over your privacy issues already, he told me...sheesh.

  3. Federal government enters the social networking realm.

    Apparently the Feds have a wonderful new idea. This time, through the IRS, the government is merging all of the data they have been gathering since the PATRIOT Act into a vast social networking application they are calling WYSKster. The...

  4. Internet Jackass Day 2004

    Like last year, I'll be keeping a running list of the web's April Fools Day (aka "Internet Jackass Day") silliness....

  5. IRS Announces WYSKster

    tins ::: Rick Klau's weblog Washington, DC (Rooters) - Capitalizing on the recent popularity of social networking applications, the Internal Revenue Service today announced its newest service, a social networking site at Related a...

  6. April Fools Day, the Web Way

    Google hiring for moon base! EFF merges with Department of Justice! IRS to join social networking craze! It's April Fools Day on the web, in all its goofy glory. Get these links while they're hot, because these sites usually return to normal on the 2nd...

  7. Plenty O' Parodies (

    Weblogging enables flood of parodies on April Fools' Day.


    One more April Fools joke. (Note to Clay: Given your weariness with the genre, you won’t want to click here and definitely not here.)...


    One more April Fools joke. (Note to Clay: Given your weariness with the genre, you won’t want to click here and definitely not here.)...

  10. April Fools' Day 2004 Wrap-Up (

    The most popular stories on this site and some elements of good parodies.