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Another view: Geeks not being targeted as "terrorists" after all

Another view: Geeks not being targeted as "terrorists" after all
Another view: Geeks not being targeted as "terrorists" after all



Previous Politech message:
http://www.politechbot.com/2005/09/26/are-geeks-being/ 


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [Politech] Are geeks being targeted as "terrorists?" [fs]
Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2005 12:15:26 -0400
From: Howard C. Berkowitz  
To: Declan McCullagh  
References: <4337BF6C.2090608@well.com> 

>-------- Original Message --------
>Subject: Geeks being targeted as "terrorists"
>Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2005 16:18:04 -0400
>From: Richard M. Smith  
>To: 'Declan McCullagh'  
>
>Hi Declan,
>
>It appears that there is a growing group of "geeks" who are being singled
>out as "terrorists".  Although suspected or charged with terror-related
>crimes, these folks in many cases were simply in the wrong place at the
>wrong time, have quirky hobbies, or showed poor judgement.  Attached is a
>list of articles about these individuals and their alledged crimes.

There may be things worth looking at here, but the links are only
marginally informative. I'm afraid a sick browser is getting in the
way of looking at several, but some weren't quite random geeks, and
in others, what seems the newsworthy aspect isn't explored.

I'm engaged in some personal research of applying the paradigms of
infectious disease epidemiology to the tracking of cyber "germs" such
as worms. In the process of doing this, I'm certainly going to
mention the history of epidemics. Detecting the release and pattern
of propagation of worms does have parallels with public health record
surveillance to detect covert bioterrorism.

Adding to that, I suppose, is that I did have access to classified
biological warfare documents about 35 years ago.  My current work,
however, has absolutely no relationship with any of that material.
I'm wondering, however, if I should "register" somewhere. Chilling
effect, perhaps.

>
>============================================>
>Suspicious behaviour on the tube
>http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1575411,00.html 

This does, indeed, seem to be geek-at-the-wrong-place-and-time.

>
>Cape pilot wages battle over FBI's 'No Fly' action
>http://www.capecodonline.com/cctimes/capepilot23.htm 

In this case, there is a legitimate concern over the process of
getting on and off the "no-fly" list. A pilot questioning the TSA
about this, however, doesn't seem to qualify for geekness.
Questionable security practices, with no apparent review, are the
legitimate news item here.

>
>In N.Y., Case Of Germs Shifts From Bioterror To Moral Error
>http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A16281-2004Jun29.html 

In this case, I see the question not so much as the attempted
prosecution, as how and why rescue workers reported "laboratory
equipment", and on what grounds the FBI got a warrant -- or didn't --
to do a search.

>
>Man Charged Under Patriot Act for Laser
>http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=385589 

Couldn't link to the page without crashing. If this is the case where
someone illuminated planes with green lasers, poor judgement is
stretching things -- this is a safety of flight issue, if it has any
possibility of affecting pilot vision.

I suppose that's better than putting a red laser dot on a police
officer. Since that's used in various targeting sights,
>
>Agents search homes of bioterror expert [Kenneth M. Berry]
>Actions in N.Y., N.J. part of anthrax investigation
>http://tinyurl.com/c6fnu 

This is marginal, and I suppose I might be brought under suspicion
for the mere discussion of biological warfare. Still, this is
complex. Was the search done before the other criminal allegations?

>
>Patent 6,710,711 - Method for identifying chemical, biological and nuclear
>attacks or hazards, Kenneth M. Berry
>http://tinyurl.com/3p6jj 
>
>Scientist in plague vial case set to appear court
>http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/Southwest/01/15/missing.plague/ 

While I consider -- as did the judge in explaining minimum sentencing
-- this case a travesty, again, it wasn't a random geek. Yersinia
pestis, the pathogen of plague, is categorized as a Class A
biological warfare agent. Labs, such as the one here, are licensed to
work with them.  The principal investigator at such a licensed
laboratory is not exactly a random geek.

>
>The Hunting of Steven J. Hatfill
>Why are so many people eager to believe that this man is the anthrax killer?
>by David Tell
>http://tinyurl.com/8ac2m 

Without judging, Hatfill is hardly a random nerd, having had access
to organisms and details of production.

>
>Man wrongly linked to Madrid bombings sues
>Names Ashcroft, Justice Department, FBI; challenges Patriot Act
>http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/10/04/mayfield.lawsuit/ 
>
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