Report: Interview Question "What happens when you visit a URL?" Phased Out After Answers Including NSA, GFW, Turkey Deemed Too Depressing

July 16, 2017


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Findings released today by the Pew Research Center indicate that the popular tech interview question, "In as much detail as possible, what happens when you type a URL into your browser and press enter?" is being widely abandoned by the technology sector due to most candidates dutifully including a bleak depiction of how various entities spy on, manipulate, or abuse these requests. Companies were quick to identify the trend of interviewers emerging from the room appearing pale and gaunt, and the question was quickly stricken from their interview process.

The question, which was originally intended to be a fun exercise allowing the candidate to flex their knowledge of TCP/IP networking, instead is turning into a dreary affair featuring a punctilious chronicling of how clandestine organizations and autocratic regimes interfere with the world's internet traffic. In the report, Pew describes how a large fraction of companies using this question confirmed that most candidates, in an attempt to give as complete an answer as possible, would diligently include spooky specifics like how the NSA likely intercepts and records request metadata and ships it off to their Utah Data Center.

Pew's report also indicated that a surprising percentage of candidates were also able to expound on exactly how nefarious state actors are able to manipulate or censor internet traffic. According to Pew, interviewees were able to offer brilliantly specific descriptions on how exactly China's Great Firewall (GFW) might work to inspect and filter network traffic, or the different strategies Turkish ISPs might wield to go about injecting propaganda into unencrypted traffic.

With the United States embroiled in an ongoing net neutrality debate, precocious candidates were also quick to include speculative answers on how american ISPs would go about introducing bandwidth restrictions and blacklists into existing infrastructure. The Pew report indicates that many top candidates were able to propose some breathtakingly elegant solutions that ISPs might use to twist the arms of customers.

According to the report, candidates providing profound insight into domestic and geopolitical internet fuckery was too grim for interviewers, and the question was discarded in short order. Pew also indicated that industry segments involving device encryption were also moving away from similar types of end-to-end interview questions.


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