Why the FBI thinks you (and I) may be terrorists

Why the FBI thinks you (and I) may be terrorists

Summary: Concerned about privacy? Use an online proxy, or the Tor network? A leaked FBI document suggests that these kinds of people may be considered "suspicious".

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From the general atmosphere on ZDNet, it is quite evident that the vast majority of those who read our columns are "concerned about privacy". If you fall within this subjective category, the FBI may be onto you.

A leaked information sheet released to community businesses by the FBI explains the behaviours for which others should be on the lookout for, all in the name of combating and preventing terrorism.

While we may not all "attempt to shield the screen from view of others", many would agree that we would prefer others in our near vicinity to not look at the details of a private message sent over Twitter, or glance over at the photos of last week's epic house party on Facebook.

Interestingly, terrorists might use "residential based Internet service providers" like Comcast or AOL, and might also use, "anonymizers, portals, or other means to shield IP address" [sic] it adds.

God forbid you should want to bleach your hair. Purchasing "hydrogen peroxide" is also on the list of suspicious behaviours.

The interesting thing was --- for a then criminology student --- I had access to a wide range of radical and extremist "literature", and my fellow student colleagues all had a certain "preoccupation with press coverage" of terrorist attacks. It was what we did. The FBI is all but classifying every criminologist or terrorism-studies student into this camp, and more.

The fact of the matter is that intelligence agencies around the world don't actually know who is a terrorist and who isn't. A leaked document by the UK's security service MI5 highlighted in 2008 that: "Individuals who became involved in violent extremism in the UK have varied characteristics and backgrounds and are, on the whole, demographically unremarkable".

While the sheet is useful and provides a base level of what others should look for in others, it does highlight the need to continue to be vigilant. It does also note that: "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."

Having said that, it may as well have added that anyone possessing "two eyes" might be a threat. Because as a criminologist, I can tell you that statistically two-eyed people are more likely to commit acts of terror than those who are visually impaired.

Image source: Public Intelligence/FBI.

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Topics: Government US, Government

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  • RE: Why the FBI thinks you (and I) may be terrorists

    No way! I'm a terrorist!? When did this happen, and why wasn't I informed sooner?
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Why the FBI thinks you (and I) may be terrorists

      @Cylon Centurion

      You and probably 80% of the rest of the country. Kind of makes it easier to do what they want in the name of protecting the country from terrorists... doesn't it?
      Badgered
      • RE: Why the FBI thinks you (and I) may be terrorists

        @Badgered

        Only if people are stupid enough to not be loud and angry when someone tries to call them a 'terrorist' because of normal stuff, like wanting to use encryption and things like TOR.
        Lerianis10
      • RE: Why the FBI thinks you (and I) may be terrorists

        @Badgered

        80% of the country? Based on the last 10 years or so, I highly doubt that number with the way that people have happily been giving away personal data via social networking, not to mention their rights in the name of "homeland security". I'd say it's more like 80% could care less about privacy because "if I'm not doing anything wrong, I have nothing to fear".
        TroyMcClure
    • The rallying cry of those who love their chains

      piousmonk, you say "it's more like 80% could care less about privacy because "if I'm not doing anything wrong, I have nothing to fear".

      I hear this all the time from fellow Americans. They have been so conditioned to accept government control that they never question for a minute whether there should be limitations on what government can force them to do.

      If you think for yourself, if you question or doubt, or if you refuse to conform (no, I am NOT watching the Super Bowl this weekend!), you are an enemy of the state.
      sissy sue
      • RE: Why the FBI thinks you (and I) may be terrorists

        @sissy sue
        We need to worry about much more than government. Do you use Google search despite knowing that they profile you from your searches? Do you use Gmail despite knowing that they scan your emails and have a list of your contacts. Do you use your Gmail to activate your Android phone? And now all will be integrated with Google+. Of course Google, not satisfied with their own spyware, want a piece of the Facebook action. I would rather trust the FBI than those two companies who are only in it for the money.
        jorjitop
  • RE: Why the FBI thinks you (and I) may be terrorists

    there were other manifestations of government intrusion like McCartyism in the 50' that eventually faded.
    The Linux Geek
  • Was this in reference to terrorism, or are you implying it is?

    It clearly reads ???suspicious???.

    Back in my retail days, a nervous person, a distracting person, or using credit cards in different names where likely trying to steal from the store, so yeah, we would consider their actions suspicious.

    Wouldn't any store owner?
    William Farrel
  • A fair number of people like that...

    ...are merely paranoid; or think that spying has become far too common. And, of course, many of us prefer to pay cash because it doesn't bounce and is rarely declined.

    However, the credit card issue is legitimate.
    John L. Ries
  • If you read this post, you're suspecious

    beacuse you're already over concern about privacy.

    You're supposed the share everything on Facebook and Twitter so that FBI could send subpoena to them and crack down on you.
    Samic
  • There are reasons to be concerned

    In the US, the Supreme Court just handed the corporations unlimited ability to get rid of any legislator they don't like by running infinite amounts of corporate funded (and secret sourced) advertising against him.

    They've just about disposessed the middle class ofeverything it has. They're bound to anticipate a huge backlash.

    That's why all these rule changes and the ease of accusing anyone of being a terrorist even though they're clearly not. It's why the use of extreme violence against protesters has been sanctioned.

    There are a hundred thousand people living on the streets (most in tents) in LA, but when they cleared the parks of protesters and brought them to the jail, they took them to an underground parking garage and made them sit on their knees handcuffed for eight hours. Some passed out, one went in to diabetic shock.

    This false accusation of everybody being a terrorist is itself a means of terrorizing people in to accepting what is being done to them.

    We are in big, big trouble and it's going to take very smart, nonviolent effort to undermine the pillars of the corrupt corporate oligarchy: the civil service, the police and the courts.

    We don't have to win all of them over, but enough of them that the corporations won't be able to count on them.

    The robber barons of the 1880's didn't agree to the creation of a welfare state out of the goodness of their hearts.
    HollywoodDog
    • There are reasons to be concerned

      @HollywoodDog <br>[i]We are in big, big trouble and it's going to take very smart, nonviolent effort to undermine the pillars of the corrupt corporate oligarchy: the civil service, the police and the courts.[/i] <br><br>I think it's going to come down to a violent backlash eventually to change anything substantive. I also predict this very thing is going to happen in this country. We're sitting on top of a pressure cooker, with nowhere to run or turn to. The proponents of the status quo have no reason to change; they feel they have nothing to fear from the beleaguered masses, and the dispossessed.<br><br>Once upon a time I feared this. I no longer do.
      klumper
      • RE: Why the FBI thinks you (and I) may be terrorists

        @klumper - This is exactly what they are preparing for. You realize that all of the American Founding Fathers fit the modern-day FBI description of "terrorists." If they were alive today, they would all be held in indefinite detention down in Guantanamo without any of the Bill of Rights protections they fought for.<br><br>Ironic, isn't it?
        terry flores
      • Ironic madness

        @terry flores
        [i]Ironic, isn't it? [/i]

        It is, and when you and I complain about it, or make mention of things that are patently obvious, it puts us in their crosshairs.

        Ironic, isn't it?
        klumper
  • RE: Why the FBI thinks you (and I) may be terrorists

    Thanks for removing my burkha comment...proof ZDNet bars free speech...it wasn't even insulting.
    SamWilkinson
  • RE: Why the FBI thinks you (and I) may be terrorists

    I used to work with a guy similar to that except he did not write checks or use a credit or ATM card.. He was a tin foil hat wearer type and always thought the gov. was out to get him.<br>Maybe he was right.
    MoeFugger
    • Who's laughing now?

      @MoeFugger <br>[i]Maybe he was right.[/i] <br><br>Besides him, and our spymasters.
      klumper
    • Chuckle

      @MoeFugger

      Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean you are wrong.... :O
      rhonin
  • RE: Why the FBI thinks you (and I) may be terrorists

    I don't have a bank account. I don't own a credit card (hell, I don't even have a credit score at 30yrs old). I don't own a cell phone. I look at pr0n. That puts special focus on me as suspicious save for tradecraft, internet cafes, and Tor.<br><br>Some of us have a problem. I, for one, carry a guilty conscience because I have lied, cheated, and stolen ... fearing what may or may not come to me at the end of time. I have also contemplated suicide several times (with one near successful attempt) since I was a teen because I hated myself. In addition, people with autism/asperger may not be able to look at people in the eye. This kind of activity alone cannot justify calling someone a terrorist.<br><br>In fact, none of these activities in combination can justify calling someone a terrorist. It sounds more to me like the tradecraft is for a thief, while exchanging the SIM and paying cash is for drug dealers. Did they just turn all crimes into terrorism? When did any of the hijackers on 9-11 perform this way?
    Vapur9
  • RE: Why the FBI thinks you (and I) may be terrorists

    I'm voting for Ron Paul in November. For sure, that makes me a terrorist.
    nikacat