You might be a terrorist if you have two cell phones, use Web proxies

By on February 2, 2012, 6:30 PM

Are you concerned about your digital privacy enough to use proxies and encryption software? Do you voice chat with fellow PC gamers? If so, you might be a terrorist, according to FBI and DoJ. Public Intelligence has discovered a federal document outlining a "Communities Against Terrorism" initative that describes various "suspicious" activities and offers tips on reporting them to the government.

The guideline (PDF) lists many perfectly normal behaviors but tries to validate their inclusion by emphasizing extremes that are completely open to interpretation. For instance, someone involved in terrorist activities might be "overly" concerned about their privacy and attempt to shield their screen from view of others. Such an individual might also travel "illogical" distances to visit an Internet Café.

You might also be a terrorist if you use multiple cell phones, switch SIM cards in the same handset, mask your IP address, download information on "timers, electronics or remote transmitters/receivers", or partake in "suspicious" communications through VoIP services. The list goes as far as to mention logging on to a residential-based Internet provider, such as checking your Comcast or AOL email.

Naturally, it's virtually impossible to define what constitutes being "overly" private, traveling "illogical" distances or making "suspicious" VoIP calls. By making such broad strokes, it could be argued that anyone engaging in such activities is suspect, regardless of how innocuous they may be. Nonetheless, if you feel compelled to report your neighbor or coworker, the FBI and DoJ suggest that you:

  • Gather information about the suspects without drawing attention to yourself
  • Log license plates, vehicle descriptions, names, languages spoken and ethnicities
  • Don't collect metadata, content or search the individuals' electronic communications



User Comments: 52

Got something to say? Post a comment
lchu12 lchu12 said:

Wow...who the hell draws up these documents?

pmkrefeld said:

Is it just me or is FBI going mental?

lchu12 lchu12 said:

pmkrefeld said:

Is it just me or is FBI going mental?

I would say its the FBI, but then they might label me as a terrorist...so its just you.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

So that's why the black helicopters have been circling my house lately...

Guest said:

they're going crazy as control is escaping them lol

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

>_> Really now

Guest said:

Seven years ago I downloaded a pdf which explained how to make your own smoke bombs with salt peter (they were wicked cool), the FBI must be watching me now.

Guest said:

All they really want to do, is stir up a huge paranoia in people. When you see people paranoid and looking around more, you know they want security right? What better way of pushing otherwise impossible bills through?

It's just a trap being set onto the public, so they can have a better grasp on your information. Intentionally "leak" things and get people worried. Then rope people in by throwing a large spread search net, that is disguised as a way of protecting the public?

Sure you can call me paranoid or clueless. Just we're not all blind to the tactics, they want control on what's not controllable anymore.

Timonius Timonius said:

Guess I'm a terrorist because I use VOIP services (not telling which ones) for online gaming (again not telling because I respect privacy

RzmmDX said:

Patriot Act, wiretapping your communications since 2002.

herpaderp said:

Now I feel like driving to an internet cafe 20 miles away just to do all these other things in public. At the same time.

Guest said:

You might be a witch if you use an umbrella.

Staff
Jesse Jesse said:

She turned me into a newt

Guest said:

who ever came up with this...deserves a 5 finger slap across the face

tengeta tengeta said:

well i'm screwed. guess i should just pack up and move to yemen..

PinothyJ said:

Hahahahahaha! This reminds me of a what happened to members from the band TISM who will always wear some sort of balaclava (even going as far as to incorporate balaclavas into their on-stage costumes). They were driving across town from one radio interview to another and were pulled over by the cops because there had been a bank robbery in the CBD and they wanted to know why they were driving around with balaclavas on.

Good times...

R3DP3NGUIN R3DP3NGUIN said:

Well that counts me as a terrorist then, I use a VPN and frequently SSH Tunnel to my VPS for privacy and security 75% of the time spent online

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

Word of advice: Don't wear a black ski mask while posing conspicuously with your Macbook.

davimous said:

I'm really sure my neighbors want to know when I'm looking at pornography.

Guest said:

all this is actually true terrorist behavior... just happens to be what some non-terroists do to... but the article is factually correct

Guest said:

"but the article is factually correct"

Where'd you learn this? How To Be A Terrorist - Course 101?

tengeta tengeta said:

its correct, terrorists do use the stuff. they also use water and food, so we should probably avoid those if we want to survive.

motrin said:

i once bought Just Cause 2 from a the UK store using proxies ..i'm a terrorist!!??

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

May be he has been one at some point in time, anyway, 'establishments' pretty much in every country these days are using 'terrorism' as a pretext to downgrade civil liberties on way or another (unfortunately I haven't seen much organized movement against this). Also non-existent opposition to such issues probably have to do something with Military-Congressional-Industrial complex.

Guest said:

Somehow they must justify the money that they take.

ramonsterns said:

Techspot mods do not approve of the party van.

Guest said:

This is just terrible. I'm glad i don't live in nazi country like usa. Internet is so far the last place you can exercise your freedom to say whatever you want, watch whatever you like and make it as private and as personal as you like. And seriously who ever heard about terrorists? Who ever seen one besides movies? This is retarded!

ramonsterns said:

Guest said:

nazi country like usa.

As opposed to what?

Let's look at your other options, shall we?

Europe? ACTA.

Asia?

Africa?

Leeky Leeky said:

That document pretty much sums up a least one aspect of most experienced computer users, and I can really see the FBI being so pre-occupied because of this initiative that they stop focusing on more series issues.

I mean come on, they're describing most computer users!

Lurker101 said:

Does this mean Techspot is going to be shut down some time in the next week for harbouring so many terrorists?

hitech0101 said:

Who thought one day all geeks and people living in basements with the fear of outer world would be called terrorists.

Guest said:

When you steal freedom from the people, you only create more "criminals." Thus, this whole ideology of tightening the fist is completely counter-intuitive.

This is also one reason why I will not be having children now or ever.

RH00D RH00D said:

20th century version:

If you have blinds on your windows you may be a terrorist.

If you have tinted windows in your car you may be a terrorist.

If you wear a hat and sun glasses at the same time you may be a terrorist.

example1013 said:

Guest said:

This is just terrible. I'm glad i don't live in nazi country like usa. Internet is so far the last place you can exercise your freedom to say whatever you want, watch whatever you like and make it as private and as personal as you like. And seriously who ever heard about terrorists? Who ever seen one besides movies? This is retarded!

I'm glad you don't live in the USA either. We have enough space cadets with no knowledge of even the most basic laws and governmental systems.

Guest said:

Ya - you must be one of those great thinkers from the FBI eh?

treetops treetops said:

I thought about getting another phone in my name and giving this one to young family member now I am actually a little scared to do so and that pisses me off.

example1013 said:

Guest said:

Ya - you must be one of those great thinkers from the FBI eh?

Yes, and as an FBI agent I can officially tell you that the sky is falling and you are all on the cyber police watchlist. Prepare your asses, we have a hundred thousand agents prepping to come down on all of you, 1984-style.

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

New line of jokes in the wake of "you might be a redneck if.." coming up.

yRaz yRaz said:

spydercanopus said:

New line of jokes in the wake of "you might be a redneck if.." coming up.

"...you don't have an internet connection to tell bad jokes with"

Guest said:

That's the point - everyone's a potential threat.

With the way things are set up, we're all breaking some law and they just need more money and time and they'll have us all rounded up.

Oh, and don't worry, I'm behind seven proxies!

Guest said:

Wear disguise - check

Travel to net cafe in another state - check

Pay for time in cash - check

Fire up proxies - check

Hack into DoD mainframe - check

Download pr0n - check FTW!

veLa veLa said:

Real terrorists don't live in America, and real Americans aren't terrorists. This isn't some dictatorship or communist country, every American has the right to privacy, on the internet and in reality.

Guest said:

Clearly a document based on the "if you have nothing to hide, you wouldn't worry about keeping things private" school of thought.

Guest said:

so , all u saying is that all american authorities are retarded, isnt it ?

oh i hope to be alive the see the fall !!!

Cellar said:

Terrorists communicating through xbox live...

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

The problem with this is you have to believe the fbi etc aren't corrupt and enforce the law in a morally acceptable manor rather than doing whatever the hell they want in the name of "security".

Guest said:

Because empires in decline always turn on their own citizens before the fall.

Still, I would much rather live in the US than anywhere else, mostly because we have the 2nd Amendment.

fpsgamerJR62 said:

Owning more than 2 cellphones - guilty as charged. Having more prepaid SIM cards than I actually use - also guilty as charged. Sorry, couldn't resist the bargain prices of those Chinese-made cellphones. By the way, are they going to include "posting on Techspot" ? I might have to post as "Guest" next time .

scarhcqc said:

I'm a terrorist !?

unloco101 said:

Security and Freedom through Encryption Act trumps what FBI thinks about your encrypted business dealings. Just because someone posts something on a tech website does not mean the FBI will have the right to bust through your door. If you are not a terrorist, then you have nothing to worry about. If you are conducting illegal actions, planning cyber attacks, or physical attacks, then yes--you might want to watch out.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.