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Government The Internet

Florida Activates System For Citizens To Call Each Other Terrorists 501

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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  • 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: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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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)

  • by tgd ( 2822 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:11AM (#43751105)

    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.

  • 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.

  • by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:12AM (#43751117) Homepage Journal

    chemical (water processing etc) engineers are interested in one of the country's largest man made chemical(water) processing structure.


  • Re:All Of Them! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:12AM (#43751119)

    You mean the sheriffs? The politicians? The newspaper editors? Who exactly do you want us to report all of?
    Maybe it should be a poll:

    Who should we focus on when making reports about terrorism in Florida:
    * The local police department.
    * A state or federal police-related department.
    * The local judiciary
    * State or federal judiciary
    * State politicians
    * Federal politicians
    * Newspaper editors
    * Cowboy Neal

  • 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.

  • 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, 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."

  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:19AM (#43751197) Homepage

    It also includes all the people who live near me that I think are Muslim. I don't have any evidence that they're doing anything bad, but I'm scared of them because of what Osama bin Laden did to us, so I think you should investigate them for terrorism.

    My list also can include, for an appropriate fee, any prominent members of political groups that opposed you in the previous election.

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

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

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

  • Re:The Haystack (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:23AM (#43751243)

    It's one thing to report someone breaking into a house, backing up a truck filled with electronics to their garage, or seeing somebody get beat up; but what we're talking about is reporting your neighbors. And we're talking about Florida.

    So, some woman is wearing a Hijib? Looks suspicious to Bubba.

    Brown skin? Hoodie? Suspicious.

    While in Florida, and I'm a white guy, I was taking pictures of a local historic house. The neighbors - all old people - were all peaking out their windows and hiding when I looked their way. The local cops didn't do much because they were the ones that told me about this house.

    You see, the public lives their lives watching TV and the fanciful things that happen there and they have a problem disguising between reality and fantasy. Why, for example, the current president of the NRA is under the impression that just owning guns (I'm all for it, but I'm a realist) will help in fighting tyranny. ANd he used the Revolutionary war as a example. If he actually read a book instead fo basing his opinion on what's shown action movies, he would know that in the beginning, the British were mopping up the armed rebel citizens of the American Colonies with very little if any causalities. It wasn't until this German mercenary started drilling the Americans and teaching to actually fight that things turned a little bit better - of course, the French Military and Navy (professional soldiers) were the ones who tipped the balance in our favor.

    Why? Because the British were sending trained soldiers and the Americans were a bunch of farmers with guns.

    Don't me started on the people who think just owning a AR-15 with the over priced M-4 package, spending an or so at the shooting range will prepare them for "fighting against tyranny".

  • "The Stasi was primarily an organ of political control"

    Do you think for one second that Stasi did not use the exact same rhetoric as NSA, Homeland Security etc? What they did and what people in east germany thought they did are not at all the same.

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

    by Jaysyn ( 203771 ) 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 GrumpySteen ( 1250194 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:37AM (#43751425)

    State Police say there were no warrants or advisories on any of the individuals and "there was no evidence that the seven were committing any crime beyond the trespassing."

    How does that justify a tip line for people to report suspected terrorist activity?

    Even if those people were trying to poison the water, that reservoir holds 412 billion gallons of water. You would have to dump tanker truck loads of poison it before you'd have any chance of making anyone sick.

    There's simply no way that seven people trespassing can carry enough of anything to have any real effect, yet that's exactly the sort of thing that would get reported to the tip line (along with crazy people reporting their neighbors and all the people reporting Florida Man []).

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • by Triv ( 181010 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:44AM (#43751509) Journal

    Here's your lesson, kids: caring about the thing you got your degree in should stop the minute you graduate, because any learning not done between 9 and 5 and in a school building by a tenured professor will get you arrested.

    wtf is wrong with you?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:58AM (#43751641)

    how do you know she's a witch?

    she turned me into a NEWT!

    a newt?

    well, I got better...

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.
  • by kilfarsnar ( 561956 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:23AM (#43752815)

    The Stasi was primarily an organ of political control, not an anti-terrorism or ordinary local law enforcement.

    Trying to draw a parallel is nonsense.

    Contrary to popular perception, the DHS can also be used for political control. Remember when the Occupy Wall Street movement was considered a terrorist threat? Remember when students staging a sit-in were pepper sprayed by the police? That's political control right there.

  • by kilfarsnar ( 561956 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:35AM (#43753017)

    "Shooting a crackhead that attacked you should be punishable offense" said the dumbass liberal dem

    How do we know the crack head attacked you? Because you say so?

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

    by lgw ( 121541 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @12:31PM (#43753875) Journal

    When terrorists become more of a threat than ladders, maybe then I'll consider thinking about giving the government new powers to stop them. Until them, fuck off you dictator wannabee.

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court