The London police have bested their own impressive record for insane and stupid anti-terrorism posters with a new range of signs advising Londoners to go through each others' trash-bins looking for "suspicious" chemical bottles, and to report on one another for "studying CCTV cameras."
It's hard to imagine a worse, more socially corrosive campaign. Telling people to rummage in one another's trash and report on anything they don't understand is a recipe for flooding the police with bad reports from ignorant people who end up bringing down anti-terror cops on their neighbors who keep tropical fish, paint in oils, are amateur chemists, or who just do something outside of the narrow experience of the least adventurous person on their street. Essentially, this redefines "suspicious" as anything outside of the direct experience of the most frightened, ignorant and foolish people in any neighborhood.
Even worse, though, is the idea that you should report your neighbors to the police for looking at the creepy surveillance technology around them. This is the first step in making it illegal to debate whether the surveillance state is a good or bad thing. It's the extension of the ridiculous airport rule that prohibits discussing the security measures ("Exactly how does 101 ml of liquid endanger a plane?"), conflating it with "making jokes about bombs."
The British authorities are bent on driving fear into the hearts of Britons: fear of terrorists, immigrants, pedophiles, children, knives... And once people are afraid enough, they'll write government a blank check to expand its authority without sense or limit.
What an embarrassment from the country whose level-headed response to the Blitz was "Keep Calm and Carry On" -- how has that sensible motto been replaced with "When in trouble or in doubt/Run in circles scream and shout"?
- London metro police poster - Boing Boing
- London cops declare war on photography - Boing Boing
- Dumbest salvo yet in the war on terror, courtesy of the London ...
- Irony-impaired Big Brother posters from London - Boing Boing
- Do not discard brain -- war on terror poster - Boing Boing
- Suspicious beard terrorist poster parody imitates life - Boing Boing
- Chicago police ask you to report people using maps or taking notes ...
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.