I have to tell you this story worries me. Jools and I roamed a round London and it’s underground a couple of years back. We carried the toys that we are used to carryiing day in and day out and carried /wore unseasonable clothes because we were going to be out all day.

According to Bruce Schneier and The Guardian some poor bloke was arrested in the London subways as a terrorist because, well because he was acting like a computer nerd.
http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2005/09/man_arrested_fo.html
and
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Suspicious behaviour on the tube

From the Guardian reporter (and victim David Mery) “A London underground station was evacuated and part of a main east-west line closed in a security alert on Thursday, three weeks after suicide bombers killed 52 people on the transport network, police said. (Reuters)

This Reuters story was written while the police were detaining me in Southwark tube station and the bomb squad was checking my rucksack. When they were through, the two explosive specialists walked out of the tube station smiling and commenting: “Nice laptop.” The officers offered apologies on behalf of the Metropolitan police. Then they arrested me.” and then he details the nearly 48 hours of being detained, searched, arrested.

You have to read this one to believe it and then put yourself into his shoes. I know I am constantly “playing” with my phone and organiser. I carry maps with client notes and circuit/network sketches scribbled all over them. I carry a handful of flash keys, cables, spare batteries and god knows what else of a geek nature in my shoulder bag ( it was worse when I carried a “bulky” backpack). And I use public transport to get around because I dont drive.

Does all this now constitute suspicious behaviour? More importantly today John Howard and the Premiers are in Canberra discussing the proposed new anti-terrorist laws. Somehow I dont see them being all that concerned with a “false positive”.

I think we are in trouble folks. (or at least those of us who carry backpacks, use public transport and mobile phones).

UPDATE
This is from the comments on Bruce Schneier’s Blog,

All, I keep updating a version of what happened and what is happening at http://gizmonaut.net/bits/suspect.html

You may also be interested in a much shorter piece at http://gizmonaut.net/bits/profiling.html which was inspired in large part by this blog.

br -d

Posted by: David Mery at September 26, 2005 05:58 PM

Categories: Trust No One

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