How just thinking about terrorism became illegal
What's on your hard drive could mean hard time
"A proposal to scan suspect hard drives causes unease in [Germany]," read a recent frontpage story in the Los Angeles Times. Positioned boldly above the fold, the reporter and editors recognized the potential keen interest in anything having to do with the implementation of snooping in "My Documents".
In the United Kingdom it's no longer surprising to find that in the absence of significant physical evidence, documents, weblinks and cached pages found on suspects' hard disks are enough to send them over on terror charges.
In the conviction of Scottish student Mohammed Atif Siddique, a source recently informs that publicized terror writings on the man's computer existed as links on pages - never mounted on the web - pointing to copies of jihadi materials published on the scholarly site, Project for the Research of Islamist Movements.
The reader can immediately intuit that having a link or links somewhere in your system, no matter where they point, and being Muslim when the police arrive at the door, can be enough to get you in deep trouble.
It was not always exactly like this. During the sweep which netted the alleged ricin cell, one young man was arrested with a copy of the ricin recipe downloaded from the Temple of the Screaming Electron, which is where Google will take you if you punch in "how to make ricin" and then click the "I'm Feeling Lucky" tab. He was subsequently released.
Times have changed. Now, conviction for possession of a terror-enabling script would be more likely.
For the expansion of German law enforcement spying, the scanning for jihadi documents and plans through Trojan horse programs, the Los Angeles paper posited through statements of authorities, that the computer was a precise window on the soul.
Are these your documents, Sir?
"The laptops of one of the suspects in a bungled bombing [from 2006] contained plans, sketches and maps - a virtual road map to an attack that could have killed dozens," stated the newspaper. "What if law enforcement had been able to secretly scan the contents of the computer before the attack was carried out?"
The terrorists bungled their bomb-making. Nothing exploded. They were caught, making the argument a poor one.
However, the fear-monger - one who makes any manner of surveillance sound reasonable - is always waiting with the ultimate trump.
"A terrorist attack with nuclear weapons is certain," reported the Times, citing a statement by German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. "The question is no longer whether an attack could be carried out by terrorists, but when."
In the eyes of government you ARE a terrorist until proven otherwise! Bush is so dumb he couldn't find his ass in the dark with a flashlight and his hands tied behind his back.
"evil geniuses for a better tomorrow".
Are they controlling the Robot Sea Monsters or the Congressional wives these days? I lose track.
That's me f*cked then!
Suddenly remembered, my internet usage includes the homepage of choice of the discerning terrorist, al Jazeera. I don't suppose they'll believe that I have a legitimate use to read an international news site despite my cousin (who forwards me links to stories on there) living in Qatar at the moment....
As has already been stated plenty of times, for detailed instructions on chemical, biological and psychological warfare you don't need the internet. You just need your local fiction section in the library and a set of A level revision notes.
Want to create a "terrorist attack"? Take 2 liquids, one a concentrated acid, the other a concentrated alkali and mix them together. The result will be a big cloud of noxious fumes that has the potential to kill. Hell, we used to do it for laughs in our chemistry lab every week...