Concerned about your privacy? You may be a terrorist!

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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 bellow, 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.


FBI Flyer for Internet Cafes

FBI Flyer for Internet Cafes

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 If it’s terroristic to value your privacy, maybe privacy really is obsolete.

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