If You Like Internet Privacy, You Might Be A Terrorist


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At least according to the FBI, anyway. Thanks to an incredibly contradicting article that focuses on Internet cafe activity, it's safe to assume profiling is alive and well in 21st century law enforcement, and it's not just limited to race, apparently.

What we have is just an amazing read on how the FBI views Internet privacy-seeking individuals, especially those who frequent Internet Cafes. Thanks to the mind boggling "Communities Against Terrorism: Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activies Related to Internet Café" document, according to the FBI:

If you are overly concerned with privacy, you might be terrorist.

If you pay cash or use credit cards with different names at cyber cafés, you might be a terrorist.

If you use anonymizers, portals or any other means of IP address shielding, you might be a terrorist.

If you use "suspicious communications" via VOIP or through video game chats, you might be a terrorist.

If you use encryption software, you might be a terrorist.

If you try to shield you screen from other viewers, you might be a terrorist.

Now, the PDF does offer some information that's actually useful, if not part of the common sense collective, when it informs people to watch out for folks downloading this kind of stuff:

- Content of extreme/radical nature with violent themes
- Anarchist Cookbook, explosives or weapons information
- Military tactics, equipment manuals, chemical or biological information
- Terrorist/revolutionary literature
- Preoccupation with press coverage of terrorist attacks
- Defensive tactics, police or government information
- Information about timers, electronics, or remote transmitters/receiver

But the rest of the document reads like a how to in relation to profiling "illicit" computer users. I highly recommend reading the FBI/Bureau of Justice Assistance document in full, just to get an idea of how many stereotypes concerning "computer geeks" both agencies are buying into.

And there's the following disclaimer, which essentially says "sorry for all the profiling rhetoric in the above stanzas, because it is important not to profile, even though that's exactly what the document did." See for yourself:

It is important to remember that just because someone’s speech, actions, beliefs, appearance, or way of life is different; it does not mean that he or she is suspicious.

It feels like they left off an "even though that's exactly what we're doing with this warning." One also wonders, in light of the document's contents, if the closing statement was written with a straight face or not.

Lead image hat-tip.