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Florida Activates System For Citizens To Call Each Other Terrorists 501

Posted by Soulskill
from the won't-ever-be-misused-ever dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Sheriffs in 13 Northeast Florida counties announced an online system Thursday for residents to report suspicious activity they think may be terrorism-related. The site provides examples of red flags to watch for, such as people with an unusual interest in building plans or who are purchasing materials useful in bomb making. Important places to watch include hobby stores and dive shops."
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Florida Activates System For Citizens To Call Each Other Terrorists

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  • Can't they just call 9-1-1???
    • Re:Really??? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cold fjord (826450) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:03AM (#43751005)

      911 is for emergencies. They are looking for tips.

    • Re:Really??? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mwvdlee (775178) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:04AM (#43751015) Homepage

      No, you use 9-1-1 for real threats involving actual terrorists.
      This is for increasing the level of fear in citizens in order to make privacy invasion more acceptable.

      • This is for increasing the level of fear in citizens in order to make privacy invasion more acceptable.

        And since it will be the police getting the reports, how do you figure it will increase the level of fear in citizens?

        • Re:Really??? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by j00r0m4nc3r (959816) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:15AM (#43751151)
          the media
        • Re:Really??? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by X0563511 (793323) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:15AM (#43751153) Homepage Journal

          The same way it happened during the Red Scare?

        • Re:Really??? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by mwvdlee (775178) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:16AM (#43751161) Homepage

          For one, they'll probably report some statistics for "dozens of reports of possible terrorist threats each day".
          Secondly, the mere existence of the reporting tool means people get reminded of terrorism more often.
          Finally, "Where there's smoke, there's fire"; this is the smokescreen (bad pun, sorry).

        • Re:Really??? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:16AM (#43751167)

          1) The fact this program ('report suspected terrorists') exists must mean that there are terrorists out there. I'm afraid.

          2) I need to buy a new pressure cooker for the big meal I'm cooking... what if I get reported as a possible terrorist?? I'm afraid.

          • by hoboroadie (1726896) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:38AM (#43751431)

            I immediately (certainly didn't RTFA) thought of the retirees already staking out the pressure cookers at Wal-Mart.
            Now they'll have a # to call, this should save the 911 operators a lot of grief.

            • I immediately (certainly didn't RTFA) thought of the retirees already staking out the pressure cookers at Wal-Mart.
              Now they'll have a # to call, this should save the 911 operators a lot of grief.

              We're talking North Florida, here. Not as many retirees, more rednecks. Most of whom actually probably only would buy a pressure cooker for bomb-making purposes.

              • by Jawnn (445279)

                We're talking North Florida, here. Not as many retirees, more rednecks. Most of whom actually probably only would buy a pressure cooker for bomb-making purposes.

                Hey! Them pressure cookers is great for makin' a really tender 'gator stew, you insensitive clod.

        • Re:Really??? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Mystakaphoros (2664209) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:18AM (#43751181) Homepage

          This is for increasing the level of fear in citizens in order to make privacy invasion more acceptable.

          And since it will be the police getting the reports, how do you figure it will increase the level of fear in citizens?

          The first time local law enforcement says, "Reports of terrorism are up 900% this year; we need an increased budget to deal with the increased threat."

          • Re:Really??? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by screwdriver (691980) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:45AM (#43752287)
            Pretty soon it will be illegal to have a hobby. Just consume your goods and go to work like a good little citizen. I'd rather be a victim of a terrorist than live in that society.
            • Re:Really??? (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 17, 2013 @02:07PM (#43755201)

              My neighbor in the city I used to live in was a gardener. Dude was like 70. Anyway, had a nice greenhouse, would make some cash on the side selling flowers and tomatoes and such every spring/summer. Anyway, one day the feds kicked his door in, tore up his house, wrecked his greenhouse, etc, because someone reported they saw pot there. Feeling they got fucked with, the feds dragged in the person that made a tip to point out the pot. They pointed to a plant with similar leaves that looked nothing like it, that he had openly on sale.

              Whatdya know? Turns out the person that called in the tip was also a gardener that now had a much better chance to sell their wares now that his competition was basically ruined. Neighbor gets out of it with a sprained wrist, bruises, a bunch of broken flower pots, ripped bags, busted lights, etc. Looked like a damn hurricane hit the place.

              We wrecked an old dude's life on an anonymous tip that he was growing pot there, in the open, in front of tons of straight edged old geezers that would freak out if they so much as saw a real pot leaf.

        • Re:Really??? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by nitehawk214 (222219) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:39AM (#43751445)

          Because they will release reports on how many calls come in. Be afraid, citizen, be afraid!

        • Re:Really??? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by gr8_phk (621180) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:20AM (#43751881)

          And since it will be the police getting the reports, how do you figure it will increase the level of fear in citizens?

          Because once you've got that label they will throw away whatever legal protections you may have. Don't leave the country because then you are a possible drone target - all because your nosy neighbor thought *you* were suspicious. Remember, everyone probably looks suspicious to someone and you've always had the ability to report suspicious activity. But now you get to add that label. Does it scare you now?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        how do you know she's a witch?

        she turned me into a NEWT!

        a newt?

        well, I got better...

  • Ben Kingsley looks like a very convincing one in Florida if Iron Man 3 is anything to go by. Bit of a different role to Ghandi :)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    With enough reporting, they might catch a single person who once thought about some act of terror. But wait, isn't that different from a terrorist attack?

    Oh well, let Florida sort it out, they're good at that.

  • The Haystack (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mystakaphoros (2664209) on Friday May 17, 2013 @08:53AM (#43750903) Homepage
    Because the best way to find a needle in a haystack is to dump increasing amounts of hay on top.
    • Re: The Haystack (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pollarda (632730) on Friday May 17, 2013 @08:57AM (#43750949)
      Is Bruce Schneier quoted as much as XKCD or is XKCD quoted as much as Bruce Schneier?
      • Re: The Haystack (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:12AM (#43751109)

        It is kinda funny to see so many references to needles and haystacks crop up since Schneier said that, but despite the unoriginality of the people who quote it, I think the reason it's so often quoted is that Schneier managed to finally articulate something a lot of intelligent (but not so eloquent) people have been thinking for a long time. Ditto with XKCD -- it taps deep into the geek mind and displays the results with wit and elan. People read Schneier (or XKCD) and because they are well-written and well presented, they think "oh my gosh, he *gets* it." So of course they're going to repeat it.

        Anyway, snark all you want, but the unoriginality of an oft-quoted argument has no bearing on the merits of said argument.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That's if the goal is actually to find the needle, rather than simply expand the business of government.

      If you listen to what they say, you will be fooled. If you watch what they actually do, you will be enlightened.

    • by c (8461) <beauregardcp@gmail.com> on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:12AM (#43751125)

      Because the best way to find a needle in a haystack is to dump increasing amounts of hay on top.

      I thought it was to burn the entire field to the ground, then sift the ashes over a magnet?

      • by wagnerrp (1305589)
        Are you suggesting the police forces adopt a "scorched earth" tactic?
        • Re:The Haystack (Score:5, Insightful)

          by GrumpySteen (1250194) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:22AM (#43751225)

          Who says they haven't [wikipedia.org]? Rounding everyone up and decide who to actually arrest later sounds like scorched earth tactics to me.

          • Re:The Haystack (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Jaysyn (203771) <jaysyn+slashdot AT gmail DOT com> on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:32AM (#43751367) Homepage Journal

            The edges of a "kettle" would be the absolute best place for a suicide bomber to strike. You'd get to kill a ton of tightly packed innocents & as a bonus, eradicate quite a few LEOs at the same time.

            • by Mystakaphoros (2664209) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:44AM (#43751517) Homepage

              The edges of a "kettle" would be the absolute best place for a suicide bomber to strike. You'd get to kill a ton of tightly packed innocents & as a bonus, eradicate quite a few LEOs at the same time.

              You don't happen to live near Jacksonville, do you? 'Cause I might need to report that.

            • by LoRdTAW (99712)

              Tightly packed people are more likely to have lower casualties. Suicide bombs can only be so powerful. Humans are quite "squishy" and the people immediately around the bomb will absorb most of the blast energy and the people next to them may or may not survive though they will have severe injuries. Just look at how many people died in the Boston attacks vs how many were injured. Three people died yet nearly 300 people were injured by two bombs.

          • Rounding everyone up and decide who to actually arrest later sounds like scorched earth tactics to me.

            Well, it's an excellent analogy. When you have nice law abiding citizens who do what the police say, kettling works. You can round up a bunch of innocent people and deprive them of their democratics rights---all piling hay onto the haystack.

            When you actually have rioters as was demonstrated a month or two notice who are charging around at random, hurling petrol bombs, steling things, overturning cars and se

    • by cob666 (656740)

      Because the best way to find a needle in a haystack is to dump increasing amounts of hay on top.

      In this case: the best way to find a needle in a haystack is to tell the people that the haystack is filled with needles and reward them for giving you information on the location of a needle in the hopes that one tip will give you the location of the ACTUAL needle.

  • What can possibly go wrong?

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:01AM (#43750975) Journal

    I have here in my hand a list of all the people I suspect of terrorism. It includes many of my business competitors and personal acquaintances I find annoying or otherwise repulsive. For example, you'll see on page 5 I've included Ms. Johnson from down the street who lets her dog shit in my yard and never cleans up after it. I've noticed her making furtive glances at my front window while the dog is dumping and I'm pretty sure she's making notes of when I'm not home so she can steal the propane tank from my Grillmaster and use it in her reign of terror.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stasi [wikipedia.org]

    Read it, think, reflect.

  • I am just looking at my hate list and deciding who deserves more more than just a minor SWATting [wikipedia.org]....

  • Sigh..Florida. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:09AM (#43751073)

    As a relatively reclusive person with an electronics "lab" in my garage with the door always open I can see it now.. Police barge in and force me to the ground. "what is this device? it's used for making bombs isn't it!" "no sir.. that is called an oscilloscope." Hell, that might be enough to ship me off to gitmo, but I'm white so probably not.

  • . . . .What a breakthrough! NOW, you don't need to hack VOIP to SWAT somebody, the most you need to do is spoof your IP address. . . .assuming the system is smart enough to log and geo-locate IPs in the first place. . .
  • by GodGell (897123) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:11AM (#43751095) Homepage

    ...right down the drain.

    I genuinely don't know what to say to Americans now. It's not like they can just pack up and move to the next country over. But I sure as hell wouldn't be staying another week if I was there... what a sad ending to a country with great promise.

    • by Anne_Nonymous (313852) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:45AM (#43751519) Homepage Journal

      What? Over? Did you say "over"?

      Nothing is over until we decide it is!

      Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!

      And it ain't over now. 'Cause when the goin' gets tough...

    • by kilfarsnar (561956) on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:33AM (#43752973)

      ...right down the drain.

      I genuinely don't know what to say to Americans now. It's not like they can just pack up and move to the next country over. But I sure as hell wouldn't be staying another week if I was there... what a sad ending to a country with great promise.

      I don't know what to say to Americans either, and I am one. Most of my fellow citizens have no idea what is happening. They think the world is just as it is presented on the news. And they are so conditioned that America = Awesome, and so take their rights and liberties for granted, they are blind to the state trying to take them away. As I have said before, people think fascism has to look like Nazi Germany and even then it has to look like it does in the movies. It's frustrating and scary to me.

      • by GodGell (897123)

        It's frustrating and scary to me too, and I'm nowhere near as close to the fire as you are!

        Since you mentioned Nazi Germany's case, the irony is that the social climate that allowed Hitler to rise to power was also largely based on patriotism (<our country> is/was the mightiest) and paranoia about the "enemy" corrupting that great country of theirs - without that fear, Hitler's "it's all because of the Jews" propaganda wouldn't have worked, or at least nowhere near as effectively. In today's USA, it's

  • by scotts13 (1371443) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:11AM (#43751101)

    ...Otherwise, I'd be spending all my time talking to the cops. I'd probably set off every single alarm that's on their "suspicious activity" list. I'm active in hobby rocketry, and sometimes transport my engines in surplus bazooka shell cases. Plus, the girlfriend is a dive instructor.

    Hey, anyone remember the 50's and 60's? One the AWFUL things were were told about the Soviet system was the constant suspicion - people encouraged to turn in their neighbors, children encouraged to turn in their parents... (SIGH)

  • If they're young, or wearing a hoodie, or darker skinned than you, or listening to that rock music... they must be up to no good.

  • This will not end well.
  • Witchcraft? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:13AM (#43751133)

    Wow, if you replace the word 'terrorism' with 'witchcraft' - it sort of reads like a document from Salem, MA circa 1692.

  • My neighbors are mutants. And Commies. And they talk of these security levels that I know can't exist...
  • Double plus good! Vote "Fascist" for a seventh glorius decade of secure stability!
  • by ai4px (1244212) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:30AM (#43751331)
    Perhaps we could call the terrorist hotline and report a black car with tinted windows. I just saw the driver looking around suspiciously as he sat in the car and just before he closed the door, I noticed he was carrying a pistol out in the open and had what seemed to be a sawed off shotgun in the front seat. He spoke using a lot of codes, as if they were second nature to him. I strongly suspect this individual to be involved in a rather large, well organized group who seems to want to harass and harm people. I think he's either a terrorist or a government agent in an unmarked car.... it is so hard to tell the difference these days.
  • by NEDHead (1651195) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:34AM (#43751391)

    Should I report Mike Holmes alone, or do I need to name each member of his crew

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:38AM (#43751441)

    So when I pull the plans for my home and the neighbors, then purchase stump remover and fertilizer I can expect a visit from the cops? If I have a pool I am double screwed?

    Bomb materials are quite often things that have very many innocent uses. Last time I was at homedepot I saw no bomb aisle. I did see a pool section and a garden section that would give you just about everything you needed.

  • by Moskit (32486) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:42AM (#43751487)

    This is exactly the methods used in Soviet Russia and other countries with similar political system.

    For years various such countries lived under communism, and they finally got rid of it 25 years ago. For years USA was hailed as the "country of freedom", and it recently adopts communist-like methods.

    In California if you want to purchase medicaments, they check your ID and input your date of birth to the cash register, because law prohibits sale of medicaments (known to Americans as "drugs") to minors.
    You also need to provide your ID and date of birth if you purchase a knife sharpener (made in China, of course). Sales of knives to minors is prohibited, and knife sharpeners are put under the same "knife" type of merchandise.
    Heck, you cannot even buy something as simple as contact lenses without a prescription! Apparently it is too dangerous for people to buy without doctor approval. Must be true, so many people in Europe die because they bought wrong lenses, right?

    Combine this all with extensive spying on their own citizens, security theatre (most visibly by TSA) and now encouraging citizens to spy on the others... Stalin would have been proud!

    What next? USA remake of Pavlik Morozov?
    Wait, they already have people sue their parents... some will surely chose to denounce instead.

    (note: this is slightly on pessimist side to compensate for the optimists out there who will surely reply "nah, it's not an issue, we don't have a problem")

    • by petes_PoV (912422) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:02AM (#43751687)

      countries lived under communism ...

      I think you're confusing communism with a surveillance society. Sure, the USSR encouraged a climate of fear, but that was because the regime was poor and having the citizens in a continual state of fear is the cheapest way to control them. The way that the USA and other western democracies used to use to control their citizens was the threat of taking away their wealth and lifestyle. They've now discovered that the same goals can be achieved much cheaper by the use of fear - so they've adopted the tactics of the totalitarian regimes. It's true that dictatorships and poorly run communist states are poor, but it's not a requirement of communism to monitor and terrorise its population - it's just the easiest way to keep them subjugated.

      • by Moskit (32486)

        Why do you think I confuse it?

        I wrote that communist countries (mainly Soviet Russia) used certain methods, and that USA now uses them. This is accurate, as you have also described very clearly. Nothing about USA becoming a communist country.

  • Learn baby learn (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tanveer1979 (530624) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:49AM (#43751569) Homepage Journal

    Looks like they haven't learnt from the Korean debacle.
    Korean govt started this thing for traffic offenses (South Korea).
    There was a monetary benefit too attached. Soon there were people, who deliberately slowed down while crossing on green, so their hiding snapper friend would click pictures of motorists caught unawares. Soon this developed to a stage that motorists beat up a few people., and it also resulted in streetfights. Needless to say, it was abandoned.
    Now of course, there is no monetary benefit here, but you will have a small percentage who would be misguided into thinking that its their patriotic duty. There will also be a small percentage of malicious people who want to get even with their "weird" neighbor. Then there would be some douchebags who will think its a nice prank to have a swat team in their neighborhood.
    So its going to be a party now

  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:56AM (#43751627)
    "The site provides examples of red flags to watch for, such as people with an unusual interest in building plans or who are purchasing materials useful in bomb making."

    So, you report your neighbour for purchasing chemicals X and Y from the gardening store because they can be used to make IEDs, and are yourself flagged because you know that chemicals X and Y can be used to make IEDs.

    Dear America,

    Please add me to your No Fly lists so I never, even accidentally, come anywhere near your Orwellian country again.
  • by Ihlosi (895663) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:56AM (#43751629)
    ... to have a lots and lots of PDFs about the sites to watch and the possibly suspicious activities.

    I'm sure the terrorists(tm) will never ever read those PDFs and even if they do, will not at all use the information found therein to obfuscate their activities.

  • by EvilSS (557649) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:08AM (#43751737)
    I love the first one:

    People drawing or measuring important buildings.

    I really just want to go grab a sketch pad and a measuring tape and head downtown...
  • by FuzzNugget (2840687) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:18AM (#43751857)

    It's doing a perfectly good job destroying itself from the inside.

    Budding chemists, engineers, pilots and generally skilled people are being caught up in the dragnet and being rounded up as potential terrorists in this persistent culture of fear. Especially if they're brown.

  • by Cigarra (652458) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:56AM (#43752449)
    Florida System for Normalizing Information on Terrorists, Criminals and Hazards.

    Now if only I could come up with a good short name for that...
  • by X.25 (255792) on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:19AM (#43752751)

    And be done with it.

    Sad.

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