Value your privacy? You may be a terrorist!

A flyer distributed by the FBI and the Department of Justice encourages owners of internet cafes to report any users who seem 'overly concerned about privacy.' The flyer is part of a program called 'Communities Against Terrorism,' which urges businesses from paintball arenas to tattoo shops to be on the lookout for terrorists and report any signs of suspicious activity.

The flyer, which can be viewed in full here, lists several suspicious activities to be on the lookout for. Some of these are completely understandable, like downloading radical literature and purchasing bomb-making materials. Others are a bit more questionable – the flyer warns against anyone who uses anonymizers, proxies or encrypted files, as well as anyone who pays in cash or logs into a residential based ISP. Because, you know, those AOL people are a bunch of radicals.

So, if you own an internet cafe and happen to catch someone trolling 4Chan via proxy or a granny checking her AOL e-mail, what are you to do? Without drawing attention to yourself, you should gather what information you can on the individual, including their license plates, language, ethnicity and vehicle description. If something does seem out of place, you can forward this information to law enforcement for further investigation.

The fine print of the flyer does contain the following warning: “...There may be a wholly innocent explanation for conduct or behavior that appears suspicious in nature. For this reason, no single indicator should be the sole basis for law enforcement action.” While it can save lives to report real suspicious activity, the flyers come across more like '50s Communist paranoia than real information. If it's terroristic to value your privacy, maybe privacy really is obsolete.

Thanks to Neowin member M2Ys4U for the tip, via this forum thread

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It's a laughable diversion tactic. It's made to turn the citizens against each other and divert their attention from the real issue. This is also vaguely reminiscent of anti-Soviet Cold War propaganda.

If you don't think that this is just a diversion, read the flyer. "Code word sheets"? Nobody uses those anymore. It is dramatized cloak-and-dagger nonsense.

Well said, I agree... "While it can save lives to report real suspicious activity, the flyers come across more like '50s Communist paranoia than real information. If it's terrorist to value your privacy, maybe privacy really is obsolete."

America is a paranoid state mind, and I thought the UK was paranoid...

Assuming the PDF is legit, this sort of thing is nothing new for the current Justice Dept., & they've been [IMHO deservedly] ripped before for this sort of thing.

Long story short there are people with an ax to grind, that for whatever reason(s) want to hurt someone else. If they're not on anyone's radar, don't have known associations with any watched groups etc., maybe the only way to stop them is if someone notices suspicious behavior & reports it. It's not something limited to terrorism -- you see 1/2 dozen people get out of a van carrying guns & walk into a bar call 911 [in the US], *IF* you can do so without jeopardizing your safety.

People wanting to hurt/kill others Is Not something limited to the US, & even in countries that are considered police states, authorities can't be everywhere, can't see everything, nor do outsiders know what's normal & not for any neighborhood etc. OTOH inept, uncaring, sometimes corrupt officials are also found worldwide, as are people who make false tips to authorities because of a grudge, or maybe they just don't like whomever... that's why the gov &/or law enforcement gives us reminders, because individually so many have learned to just "mind their own business".

Hopefully any local authorities are better at their job than the people at the JD or Homeland that release things like that PDF. Likewise hopefully any citizens are smarter too -- most after all don't share the TSA's attitudes/mentality. I Really, Seriously, Highly doubt anyone's going to be breaking down grandma's door because she logged onto AOL.

LOL, now this is just sad. Many people don't want other people to look at their computer screen, since most cases it's private like reading your personal emails. But if you hide what you do, you're considered as a terrorist? LOL what a joke, also talking to people over games make you a terrorist as well? LOL

well thankfully not worried about my privacy. whoops. found someones house via street view and they said it was an invasion of privacy. yeah but better from the street than from above..

Besides God knows where I am even when I'm naked. no privacy needed..

Dictatorship 101:
- Create a dangerous invisible enemy - CHECK
- Create fear in the people from that enemy - CHECK
- Create laws to diminish peoples given rights in the name of stopping the enemy - CHECK

Just look how every single dictatorship in history start and you will find these methods.

AWESOME!!! We've got infowarriors posting news on NeoWin's News Feed.

We're gonna defeat 1984 with the spirit of 1776!!!

Be on the watchout for people who claim to prefer this thing called "lunix", it's a communist ripoff off Microsoft by Russians trying to topple the USA by stealing real American jobs.

Using Comcast or AOL? What else are we supposed to use to get online? So would Verizon FIOS be OK? No terrorist uses COX! These companies are national, not 'little residential local access' channels to getting online.

LOL, I have nothing to hide really, but still keep my social netoworking to "friends only" and by friends its people I actully know. I just dont need the public knowing what I do, where I check in or my rants about my bad days at work.

According to that I should expect a visit anytime soon then.

I often use multiple cell phones, usually at least 2 (One of for work one for personal)

I also frequently use VPN's when using public Wi-Fi connections, namely because there are still a lot of services that don't use HTTPs and I'd rather not be sending passwords in cleartext across an unencrypted Wi-Fi connection.

Using encryption on a laptop is just sensible particularly it could be nicked on a train.etc

king_of_hearts said,
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

Kay... what essential liberty am I in danger of giving up?

Neighbor reports me 'cause the dog *** on her lawn. I report the neighbors because their party music is too loud at 3:30 AM. Your neighbor sneaks/steals your morning paper. This sort of minor BS goes on everyday, everywhere. Now *IF*, & it's a bit IF, someone absolutely follows a poorly conceived & written bulletin, someone might report innocent activity that they thought was suspicious. What's gonna happen?...

Is some jack-booted, ski mask wearing strike team gonna break down the door? There's a greater likelihood of that happening from some clerical error on the part of the local feds. What'll happen is the local PD's gonna take the call, & if they have the manpower & feel it's worth it, very briefly check it out. At very worst they know I was using whatever PC or network connection when & where. Whoopie -- the local grocery store knows more about my habits.

OMG this is awesome. I agree.

What problem do you have with people looking at your phone calls, emails, and passport activity? eh? If you AREN'T doing anything wrong what is the DAMN problem?!?!?

You can look at my records ALL you want.. I don't give a RIP, I have NOTHING to hide, neither should you. If you.. well then yes.. I agree you MIGHT be a terrorist!

(or a drug dealer) -- fine line there..

rijp said,
OMG this is awesome. I agree.

What problem do you have with people looking at your phone calls, emails, and passport activity? eh? If you AREN'T doing anything wrong what is the DAMN problem?!?!?

You can look at my records ALL you want.. I don't give a RIP, I have NOTHING to hide, neither should you. If you.. well then yes.. I agree you MIGHT be a terrorist!

(or a drug dealer) -- fine line there..

Read the post from King of Hearts down below.

rijp said,

You can look at my records ALL you want.. I don't give a RIP, I have NOTHING to hide, neither should you. If you.. well then yes.. I agree you MIGHT be a terrorist!

send me you email login and pass. now.

Palpatine said,
Thank god I dont live in the US

It's not a US-centric problem, though the people producing that PDF might be. The stated purpose of the bulletin or whatever is to encourage people to report someone(s) doing something that maybe they shouldn't be doing. Many countries go a Lot further than that, whether it's having paid informants in the neighborhoods or sticking cctv cameras pretty much every place you can stick a cctv camera, but most all encourage citizens to report potentially suspicious behavior.

While the JD & Homeland do put out these sorts of things, it doesn't modify the laws or judicial system or anything -- at most, if anyone's silly enough to follow it to the letter, the local police will get more tips phoned in which they'll sort out, ignoring the BS.

It's like the FBI had a series of templates for these things made using Publisher in about 1992 by someone who'd never used a computer before, and they've never bothered to update them.

In the most basic of concepts, constantly looking over your shoulder in overwhelming fear only exaggerates your insecurities. And it's a wonder why the US is so involved with other nations let alone it's own citizens!?

MidnightDevil said,

You mean.. illegal? :b

no.. he means legal. I think the U.S. Most countries, even western europe, don't have freedom of speech.

seta-san said,

no.. he means legal. I think the U.S. Most countries, even western europe, don't have freedom of speech.

You have it in Portugal.

Brian Miller said,
Only in America is privacy legal.

ONLY in the USA? What do you think the rest of the world is covered by the black veil of Mordor?

Brian Miller said,
Only in America is privacy legal.

you have to be American to be so ellitist and chauvinistic to think that the USA is the only enlightened country on earth. For your information, freedom of speed is a basic universal human right and as such "legal" and written in the constitution of all the countries that ratified those international agreements. Which is the majority of the world

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U...Declaration_of_Human_Rights (articles 18-20)

seta-san said,

no.. he means legal. I think the U.S. Most countries, even western europe, don't have freedom of speech.

make some homework before posting......... Your overall image would improve.......tremendously.

How many of you read the flyer ... Just saying, someone who is using a lookout, dowloading building diagrams and buying fertilizer is probably a terrorist... You can twist and turn that however you want, it's weird and should be reported !

Our government is criminal and anathema towards our Constitution. It's even possible our government could cause the end of the world with their war mongering. The "war on drugs" should be enough to prove our government is waging war against it's own sheople. Turn off the TV and click over to alex jones to get some answers.

I like the way this article reads. Very well put together.

“...There may be a wholly innocent explanation for conduct or behavior that appears suspicious in nature. For this reason, no single indicator should be the sole basis for law enforcement action.”

Like that ever stopped them.

While it can save lives to report real suspicious activity, the flyers come across more like '50s Communist paranoia than real information.

That tends to be the case. This flyer seems more like they are trying to muster up work, as I'm sure they will start receiving a crap ton of tips that lead no where because of this.

cybertimber2008 said,
A nation of Paranoia, thank you 9/11 attacks!

You sound like a typical American! PS: You can through in Pearl Harbour too!

It's always worse when it happens to America!

Minooch said,

You sound like a typical American! PS: You can through in Pearl Harbour too!

It's always worse when it happens to America!

of course its worse if it involves america because Brad or Angelina could possibly be harmed.. /s

Lachlan said,

of course its worse if it involves america because Brad or Angelina could possibly be harmed.. /s

ha! perfect!

I'm purposely going to go to a WiFi Hotspot with my laptop, my Samsung Galaxy Nexus and my iPhone 4S. I'll use my proxy tunnel, act suspicious and concerned about who looks on my screen. I'll even pretend to switch SIM cards on my SGN. Nobody will report me. I may even hang up this flyer too.

mollick2 said,

Let's just call it Terrorism.


Indeed! A State that terrorize its own citizens is guilty of terrorism, state terrorism.....