The lights are on
Power Member - Level 10
A few days ago, I happened to mention to a friend that I was having problems coming up with an interesting, and comical, topic for my blog. As I stated on my recent visit to the Indie and Mojo Show (please don't hold them responsible for my unpopular opinions, they are great guys), I had been experiencing a serious level of writer's block. In response, my friend pointed me to an "informative" document warning the public of potential indicators of terrorist activities in internet cafes put out by the Department of Justice and the FBI using taxpayer's money. Yes, my friends let the hilarity ensue.
Apparently, the people who wrote this little document had just gotten done watching the movie "The Kingdom" where users are crammed in to a small internet café playing World of Warcraft while the nefarious bomb-maker is sitting in the back room hatching his plans for world domination. Last time I saw an internet café in town, it had two people inside using the computers. This day and age, free wifi access in Starbucks, McDonalds, etc... has taken over the concept of the internet café, offering even greater levels of anonymity for its users who don't need to pay anybody.
With the concept of free wifi in mind, let's take a look at the checklist of "suspicious activity".
The first item on the list is to watch out for is someone who goes out of their way to protect their privacy, shielding the screen from view of others. After hours of plane rides doing work, I have learned one important lesson: when people around have nothing else to do, they stare at the closest screen. Not only do I shield others from view, I own and use a privacy screen for my laptop. If you want to watch the same crappy movie on Netflix as I am, get your own subscription. So, I am positive for the first sign of a terrorist.
The second sign of a possible terrorist using the internet is one who pays with cash or uses credit cards with changing names. Obviously, they are talking about purchasing internet time here. But, we come back to the concept of the 21st century and free internet spots. If a terrorist is so hopped up on not being found out, they are going to use a free wifi spot. So, as I am a frequent user of free wifi and I like to pay with cash for things, I am positive for terrorist check number two.
The next check mark is probably the funniest out there: watch out for those using tradecraft. Ok, my extensive knowledge of terrorist/spy tradecraft is limited to movies like Mission Impossible. So, I'm going to need to be on the lookout for people wearing realistic masks, voice changing stickers, and sticky gloves to climb buildings...yep, never seen any of that. Now, as for distracting employees, I have been known on occasion to ask the Subway sandwich people how long a foot-long sandwich is or how much soda can fit in a 32 ounce cup, so I must be checked off for terrorist indicator number three.
Is he blocking his screen? Uh-oh!
The next item has to do with people acting nervous or suspicious. Apparently the FBI is not aware that a popular first date for those people on various dating websites is Starbucks. If you ever want an entertaining show, go to a Starbucks in the evening and just sit back and watch as these people meet for the first time. Top that off with the fact that I live in a state where anyone can carry a concealed weapon (except for felons) and you have a recipe for suspicious behavior. So, as I carry a concealed weapon at all times (and am a bit odd), I meet terrorist qualification number four.
The next piece of suspicious behavior is someone using multiple cell phones. My life is the corporate world, where everyone has at least two cell phones. I have one for work and one for my personal life. Some people I work with run side business and have upwards of four or five different phones. Item, number five: check.
The sixth checkmark is another winner: people who drive "illogical" distances to use the internet. Ok, first, what is considered "logical"? In Arizona, we have what are called snowbirds, people who live up north during the summers and down here in the winter so they can stay in nice climates during the most extreme seasons, the best of both worlds. It is not uncommon to see a Starbucks with a sea of Minnesota or Canada license-plates all over. Personally, I drive an hour to get to work, so obviously I drive a long way to use the internet. For some, this could be illogical, so I test positive for item number six.
Items after this cover things people specifically do on the computers. But wait, the papers also tells people not to try and check my computer due to potential dangers. Also, I was blocking my screen, so how could anyone tell what I was doing? Even if they could, I use my PC to play games some would consider to be violent and I also use data encryption on my email accounts, two items this document specifically warns the public about. But, ask yourself, why would I risk letting you have access to a terminal I use when I could just use my tablet?
Well, apparently, I am a terrorist, or at least that is what the DOJ and FBI was thinking when they wrote this document. The only thing I ask is that you not spoil my bid for world domination.