In digging through some information on another subject I stumbled across a copy of the moronic information pamphlet released by the FBI, titled "Communities Against Terrorism - Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities", in its efforts to curb terrorism by creating a cadre of informants. I'd forgotten about this pamphlet and I think a short review is in order so we all know how to deal with those silly miscreants (aka mere citizens) who dare believe in their Right to Privacy.
Do you or anyone you know, while visiting an internet cafe or coffee shop...
- always pay cash?
- prefer to shield your computer screen from the view of others?
- log onto AOL, ComCast or other "residential based internet provider"?
- use an anonymous web web portal to shield your IP address?
Then you are a very suspicious person and the FBI wants someone to report your "very suspicious conduct".
According to the FBI, anyone watching you and your very suspicious conduct ought to...
- gather information about you without drawing attention to themselves
- capture your license plate number and vehicle make and model
- identify your name, ethnicity and what languages you speak, and
- notify law enforcement immediately if they are concerned about your very suspicious conduct
The last 2 paragraphs of the pamphlet are brilliant. Utterly brilliant.
Preventing terrorism is a community effort. By learning what to look for, you can make a positive contribution in the fight against terrorism. The partnership between the community and law enforcement is essential to the success of anti-terrorism efforts.
Some of the activities, taken individually, could be innocent and must be examined by law enforcement professionals in a larger context to determine whether there is a basis to investigate. The activities outlined on this handout are by no means all-inclusive but have been compiled from a review of terrorist events over several years.
What is sad is they save their explanation that every single activity they deem suspicious is actually "lawful conduct or behaviour" for the fine print at the bottom of the page so small you need a magnifying glass to read.
While I agree we must all be aware of our surroundings it is treading on very dangerous ground to believe everyone who values their privacy and pays cash is a terrorist.
On that note I think I'll take my laptop to the nearest internet cafe, grab a coffee, pay for it in cash, find the darkest corner I can to protect my screen from prying eyes and use a web anonymizer service to shield my IP address while I research my next article on, oh, I don't know, how about the Anarchist Cookbook or the latest full auto firearm manufactured by Sig Sauer. Oh yeah, and I'd better log onto my home ISP service and check my email while I'm at it.
That ought to be enough very suspicious conduct to qualify me for their snitch program, right?