Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Domestic Terrorism® aka "Project Tripwire"®

The FBI (who under the North American Perimeter Security Agreement would likely extend it's operations into Canada) have released some guidelines on how to rat out and disappear your neighbours as a 'Domestic Terrorist'. The whole flyer is available here for you to peruse. I will take some time to point out what I have already misinterpreted.

People Who:

Are overly concerned about privacy, attempts to shield the screen from view of others
Does this include when I am reviewing my account balances online? Because I prefer that remain nobody else's business.
Always pay cash or use credit card(s) in different name(s)
Cash? I do always pay cash... Why? Because I have had my bank card cloned 800 times in the past 5 years regardless of having 'smart chip' or whatever they choose to call it. I am sick of discovering that my account is frozen and I do not even have enough for a bus fare in my wallet until I present myself at a bank when it is open... Usually I discover my account is frozen on a Saturday afternoon, so the next time they will be open, and I will not be working all of the banks opened hours is Thursday evening... Isn't that convenient? No, I don't think so...
Apparently use tradecraft: lookout, blocker or someone to distract employees
What the heck are you talking about? Isn't this a tactic used by petty thieves? Should Internet Café employees not be more concerned about watching the till under this circumstance?
Act nervous or suspicious behavior inconsistent with activities
Again, watch the till, and prepare to trigger an alarm, this is more indicative that a gun is about to be drawn... Of course, it's possible that they are waiting on an important email concerning a job, there are a lot of 'unemployed people' out there these days.
Are observed switching SIM cards in cell phone or use of multiple cell phones
I know a couple of terrorists like this... It's called "Business Travel". I have been given a company travel phone, and the 2 SIM cards before, one worked in Canada, the other in the US, there were more SIMS for Asia and Europe as well. It's true that in more recent years, some carriers recognize this price gouging as a problem, but not all. So I think this practice still exists. I also used to have multiple cell phones because a company I worked for provided me a phone, and I still had a contract on my own phone that would have cost more to cancel than to just keep until the contract ended (like that makes sense)... So, in reality, the cellular companies and their bizarre billing practices cause much of this type of behavior.
Travel illogical distance to use Internet Café
Wait, what? So was I supposed to follow patrons of internet cafés home to see if they live in the next town? That is even less suspicious if they are dating someone up the street, or work as a traveling sales person, or truck driver, or a multitude of other valid jobs I could think of. Define illogical distance? If you mean walking 15 blocks, past another internet café to get to this one there are still valid reasons... Maybe their coffee sucks, that's reason enough for me.

Activities on Computer indicate:

Evidence of a residential based internet provider (signs on to Comcast, AOL, etc.)
Seriously? Using AOL is now relegated to terrorists? No wonder I always got so angry with those people, they were shills trying to assess my intelligence using stupid questions and stupider attempts to explain things that they didn't understand, which were actually secret code meant to recruit me...

Doesn't just about everybody HAVE an residential internet provider in North America at this point? That does not mean my internet connection is in a place convenient to my present location like maybe it's in the next town, or state/province, or even in a different country than I currently discover myself existing in... It happens, and we even have a word for it called 'travel'... Look it up it means to go somewhere that generally is not home... Any questions?
Use of anonymizers, portals, or other means to shield IP address
Guilty! I had to use these once when the company I worked for installed a web filter that blocked 90% of the internet, including tools that our 'intranet' linked to like modemhelp.net, which is very useful when you work at the ISP helpdesk. Especially since our intranet team outright refused to post this list internally. Beyond that, I have found such tools useful in testing DNS propagation of new domains or sub-domains as they allow me to access the internet from a location somewhere other than "here" (wherever "here" presently is).
Suspicious or coded writings, use of code word sheets, cryptic ledgers, etc.
Code word sheets: as a Network Administrator, I use a vast array of possible passwords as a means to protect the network and servers, and to protect my personal data from my employer. Then I also have a password algorithm I use for stupid sites that force me to sign in to read something... In all the possible password list for 'everything' could be 200 choices from 5000 possibilities... I do not assume I will ever remember all of that, so I do not try... Of course, I also can't keep some easy to read list either, so I need a code sheet that I understand.

Coded writings? Well... Half of what I do looks coded to the average Joe... Sometimes it may be as simple as <html>, but then there's Java, C++, VB, etc which I also work with. Oh, I also read music... There's definitely a code system on that...

Are we counting other languages? Because Japonese and Chinese have always appeared encoded to me.
Encryption or use of software to hide encrypted data in digital photos, etc.
I finally agree with something, hiding data in JPEGs might be suspicious. I just doubt the general population could distinguish such an activity from 'using photoshop'.
Suspicious communications using VOIP or communicating through a PC game
VOIP - Voice Over Internet Protocol... I don't see how this is suspicious in the least when you consider that this is a pretty mainstream technology. I use VOIP on my home phone line, using a regular old wired telephone and it does not look or sound any different than what Ma Bell offers.

Communicating through a PC game? This is preposterous!! Most modern multi-player online video games actually require headsets these days because it is impossible to 'chat' and play the game at the same time because typing and playing all at once would require extra arms.

Use Computers To:

Download content of extreme/radical nature with violent themes
Extreme/radical violent themes - sounds like every Hollywood script ever written, I am sure some of them even explain 'how to' even if the information is false or ill-conceived as the writer chose not to research the topic.
Gather information about vulnerable infrastructure or obtain photos, maps or diagrams of transportation, sporting venues, or populated locations
My son is guilty of collecting bus schedules every quarter, they contain maps and times when a bus might be in a 'target zone'. Of course, not that the bus will actually be on time, or in some cases, actually show up at all... I used to carry a map of a sporting venue, as it was included in the wallet sized hockey schedule. I don't carry that anymore because (a) the Habs suck this year (b) the hockey schedule now lists all teams in the NHL in a tiny little, difficult to read, difficult to understand, waste of paper.

Gather information about vulnerable infrastructure? What, like Hydro Quebec just needs a long enough ice storm and poof? Because that is pretty common knowledge.
Purchase chemicals, acids, hydrogen peroxide, acetone, fertilizer, etc.
No way?!!! What are the chances? I was just asking around work this morning if anybody had any acetone, hydrogen peroxide, or alcohol. I had to settle for methanol, which seemed to do what I required it to...
Download or transfer files with “how-to” content such as:
  1. Content of extreme/radical nature with violent themes
  2. Anarchist Cookbook, explosives or weapons information
  3. Military tactics, equipment manuals, chemical or biological information
  4. Terrorist/revolutionary literature
  5. Preoccupation with press coverage of terrorist attacks
  6. Defensive tactics, police or government information
  7. Information about timers, electronics, or remote transmitters / receivers
I have numbered this list so I can address them all separately. But before I start, I would like to address the list as a whole. Most of the things on this list would require you to: (a) sit in the lap of the person you are attempting to 'spy' on (b) steal their laptop (c) setup expensive proxy and firewall equipment designed to 'store' all data anybody has accessed in your internet cafe and hire a few people to examine all that mostly useless data (d) all (or most) of the above
  1. Apparently this is very important, because it is it's own point above, and a sub-point here... See my comment above, I do not feel it necessary to repeat myself.
  2. Anarchists Cookbook? Many things in this book must be completely outdated since 1971, in particular the phone phreaking devices do not work with more modern phone systems, which are all digital now.
  3. I know plenty of military buffs who are particularly interested in military history dating back to medieval times, do they count? Define 'biological information'... Sex is an inherently biological process, as is breathing, eating, and shitting... And given my trust in big-agro and big-pharma, I do like to put research into what I am about to ingest, does that count as chemical information?
  4. Who's definition of terrorist or revolutionary are we using? Since you are attempting to define a domestic terrorist in this document, this becomes a circular logic problem; if I am a terrorist, then just about anything I am reading or writing would, in essence, become terrorist literature.
  5. Hold on here... Isn't the press/media bombarding us with 'terrorist' this or 'terrorist' that? This constant display of 'you must fear the enemy' is designed to preoccupy us, isn't it? So now it's a problem if that is actually working? Make up your minds...
  6. Government information? Like? Knowing your rights? Knowing what you are entitled to? Knowing when the government is acting outside of it's rights? If I do not pay attention to my government, what point is there in voting? <-- (rhetorical question, I am not convinced there is a point anyway).
  7. I think this wide a scope could actually be manipulated into: if you are trying to decide between iPhone or an Android from HTC then you are a terrorist...

Sum of all fears:

Overall, I would say that this 'snitch on your local domestic terrorist' flyer was designed to identify tons of false positives, and very few actual terrorists. One might even connect dots and say it was designed to trample on anybody who does not agree with the U.S. Government, as those people tend to have 'revolutionary' ideas...

Remember a 'revolt' is technically what happened once 'treason' has won. If the 'American Revolution' had failed, it would be called the 'Treasonous Period of the British Colonies in the New World' according to our history books and would have ended with people like John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and many others being hung, drawn, and quartered by the British. OR -- it might not even exist in our history books at all...

I think too few people ponder these 'what if' questions and simply accept that history is written by the victor.



  1. There are many other pamphlets of flyers geared towards such things as 'hobby shops', 'electronics stores', 'tatoo parlours', 'storage facilities', 'Beauty/drug stores', 'mass transit', 'rental properties', etc... For the most part they list many common items "using cash" being on every single one, I am also seing 'missing fingers, or missing hand' frequently. You be the judge: The whole list is here

  2. Oh, and remember shaving is now a terrorist activity and is listed as 'altering appearance'.

    Again, there are some things that might even appear to make sense in these, but at the same time sound 'overexaggerated', especially given that there is one for paintball... I thought paintball was, in it's very essence, a military simulation in a recreational environment. so "Individuals who together are interested in learning group tactics" is sort of 'what I already define paintball to be best described as'...