TerroristTourist in London

Tuesday, March 18, 2008 at 6:56 | Posted in great britain | Leave a comment
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If you are going to visit London you had better leave your camera home unless you want to attract suspicions of being a terrorist. You may also want to consider not having too many cell phones with you. And plese be careful about where you swap SIM cards if you decide to buy a pre-paid connection rather than using the expensive roaming services.

The Metropolitan Police are launching and ad campaign asking “members of the public to report any suspicious behaviour in confidence” to an “Anti-Terrorist Hotline”. As it turns out, quite normal touristic behaviour may be regarded as “suspicious”.

Many tourists do indeed take pictures but what kind of photographing is to be considered suspicious? A Londoner should not worry about that but let “experienced officers” judge. Baring in mind the density of CCTV cameras in public places, chances are that one or several could be in your vicinity while shooting photos. So no cameras, please, if you would rather be safe than sorry.

How many is too many? A Londoner should of course leave it to the “experienced officers” to decide but a tourist should probably not have more than one to be on the safe side. And remember what I said about swapping SIM cards. I can just imagine an “experienced officer” asking if you are incidentally carrying a concealed SIM card.

Terrorism is a serious matter but I wonder how many real terrorists are going to be caught with this sort of measures. The more successful this campaign is going to be, the greater chance there is that a massive number of false alarms against innocent people will happen and a lot of those “experienced officers” are going to waste time better spent on chasing real terrorists. Those “experienced officers” did not do too well with David Mery, not to mention Jean Charles de Menezes.

via Petteri Järvinen

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