When you use the Internet in a public place, do you prefer to have as much privacy as possible? Well, that makes you a potential terrorist. According to the FBI, Internet privacy is now considered to be suspicious activity. If you are out in public and you attempt to keep snoopers from peeking at your computer screen, then according to the FBI they should gather as much information about you as they can and they should report you to the authorities immediately. If this seems completely and totally ridiculous to you, then you are not alone. Millions of Americans have become deeply concerned about the constantly expanding definition of “suspicious activity” in the United States. Sadly, the federal government is now engaging in an all-out attempt to have us all spy on one another. All over America, the Department of Homeland Security is running ads promoting the “See Something, Say Something” campaign. They even had 8,000 stadium workersat the Super Bowl this year go through special training on how to spot potential terrorists. So the next time you see a hot dog vendor, keep in mind that he might also be part of a special anti-terrorism task force.
The following are some quotes from a government document entitled “Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities Related to Internet Café“. In between each quote, I have included some commentary. It is absolutely amazing what the definition of “suspicious activity” now includes….
“Are overly concerned about privacy, attempts to shield the screen from view of others”
Look, if I am doing some online banking or am composing an email to a friend I don’t want someone peeking at my screen. Aren’t most Americans “concerned about privacy” and don’t most people want to keep their Internet activity to themselves?
“Always pay cash or use credit card(s) in different name(s)”
We have seen the government warn about this before. It appears that from now on using cash in America is going to get you labeled as a potential terrorist. How bizarre is that?
“Act nervous or suspicious behavior inconsistent with activities”
Some people are just naturally nervous. This kind of vague language could be applied to almost anyone.
“Are observed switching SIM cards in cell phone or use of multiple cell phones”
What if your cell phone battery is dead and you need to use your wife’s cell phone? Does that make you a potential terrorist?
“Travel illogical distance to use Internet Café”
A lot of times people will use Internet cafes when they are out of town on a trip. Is there something inherently suspicious about that?
“Evidence of a residential based internet provider (signs on to Comcast, AOL, etc.)”
Why in the world would this be considered to be suspicious activity?
“Use of anonymizers, portals, or other means to shield IP address”
These are lots of people out there that take Internet security very seriously and that use things like this. And how would a casual observer know that these kinds of things are being used? You would have to be watching someone pretty closely to know that something like this is going on.
“Suspicious or coded writings, use of code word sheets, cryptic ledgers, etc.”
What would “suspicious or coded writings” include? Again, this is very vague language and could include a vast array of different things.
“Encryption or use of software to hide encrypted data in digital photos, etc.”
So nobody should use encryption anymore?
“Suspicious communications using VOIP or communicating through a PC game”
What exactly would fall under the category of “suspicious communications”?
Also, if you are talking to someone through a PC game, there is a good chance that it is a very violent PC game and that you would say something that you normally wouldn’t say in real life.
You might say something like this: “Okay let’s get the guys together and go kill the boss. We’ll meet at the Gates of Endor in a half hour.”
According to the FBI, that could easily be labeled as “suspicious activity” that needs to be reported to the authorities.