I don’t like the world I live in…

Schneier on Security: The War on the Unexpected

bq. We’ve opened up a new front on the war on terror. It’s an attack on the unique, the unorthodox, the unexpected; it’s a war on different. If you act different, you might find yourself investigated, questioned, and even arrested — even if you did nothing wrong, and had no intention of doing anything wrong. The problem is a combination of citizen informants and a CYA attitude among police that results in a knee-jerk escalation of reported threats.

In particular:

* “Fathers can’t hold daughters’ hands”:http://www.bloggernews.net/18108 (Grr. Grr! this is appalling.)
* “iPod terror”:http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=11211166&pageNo=1&sid=1 (yes, it happens here in Canada too)

I noticed at my son’s hockey arena recently that the anti-photography signs have changed; now in addition to reporting to building staff that I’m using a camera, the sign claims that I’m only allowed to photograph the people I came to the arena with. Why is this relevant? Because policies like this are both driven by, and feeding into, the societal paranoia that defines this decade.

Several years ago at Niagara Falls I saw a child who was climbing, on the wrong side of a safety fence, on the rocks near the river. I told her it wasn’t safe to be over there, and that she should come back. One of her parents finally noticed and came over to scold the child; not for being in a dangerous place, but for talking to a stranger! (She hadn’t actually said anything to me, for what it’s worth :).

I’m sure I could come up with more stories, personal and on the Internet; it’s too easy this days…

Ugh. Refuse to be afraid, people!

posted at 3:34 pm on Wednesday, December 05, 2007 in Current Events | Comments (6)


  1. Jeff K says:

    You don’t really need to do anything at all to attract scorn. After the Trans Siberian Orchestra performance at ACC, I sat watching the roadies take apart the stage for 5 minutes or so and was approached by security and told I should go home. I had been watching the security guard’s behaviour earlier in the evening. He was obviously a mental case. He probably thought the same of me, in his eyes there was nothing left to watch so my behaviour did not make logic sense to his limited mind.

    He probably didn’t even hear the lead guitarist announce that band members would come out into the stands after the show.

    He probably reported seeing a suspicious person to his management for all I know, and some bureaucrap is busy writing up a sign to cover the infraction right now. Something like “last person out at each performance will be shot.”…

  2. Nita says:

    I get lost of grief for not blindly following the “teach children stranger danger”. fear of things that should be feared, fine. Fear for it’s own sake? I call bull.

  3. Jeff K says:

    Had another one today! The cashier at Costco asked me for my membership card, so I stepped up and handed it over assuming the tendering of the previous transaction was drawing to its usual conclusion. Alas, the lady ahead of me was paying for her purchase in $10 bills. Augh, I thought, a waste of another 10 seconds of my life. But then… she glanced at me. So I said “Hello.”. She then continued, by my estimation, on the 60th $10 bill, and glanced at me again. Now I thought, uh-oh, she must be paranoid about something, but I saw a child wandering close by and wondered if she glanced at him. ..but then after $10 bill #70 she glanced at me again and said “I would like you to move away from me, I have a lot of money in my hands, and I do not know who you are.”

    I was aghast, so I said, “What? I made $15,000 on IMAX on Friday, you think I care about a $10 bill in your purse?”… and stepped back.


    To which I said, “This is the most ridiculous conversation I’ve had in a long while..” (that would be since the security guard asked me to leave the ACC after the show last week).

    After the 80th $10 bill found its way out of her purse and she received her bill and was off to pick up her ever so valuable merchandise at the counter, I said to her, “Buy IMAX…”, to which she turned and glared, and then said nothing.

    Anyway, wish me luck, I’m taking the heavy equipment to a Skate-Canada event today. Nikon D200 with IS/ED 400 f/5.6 glass. Come bail me out after the show, I’ll give you a free stock tip.

    Here, I’ll pay in advance: Stay the hell away from CIBC shares.

  4. Jeff K says:

    Yep, I was harassed. I actually decided to put the 85mm f/1.4 lens on, its better for such a venue. The first security lady said I could not bring a camera like that in, but I thought I’d ask the lady right behind her who was selling tickets and sitting under a sign with 30 point letters that said that cameras with lenses “200mm and less” *were* permitted. After some discussion it turned out that she did in fact know she was sitting under the sign. Once this fact was discovered, some unwritten rules were mentioned about how I could only take pictures of my skater. I simply said “Okay”, and it appeared to be the correct answer. Unfortunately, I was not told which one was my skater, so I had to take pictures of all of them so I did not miss her. Now I’m stuck sorting out hundreds of pictures.

    My elder daughter asked me on the way to our seats, “Daddy, why did the first lady say the camera was not allowed, the second one did not know that 85 was less than 200 (duhhh) and the sign on the wall doesn’t say anything about which skaters you can take pictures of?”.

    …oh well.

  5. chk says:

    I’m pretty sure that Parks & Rec has no legal basis for the photography claim, and I’ve been planning for a while now to give them a call and find out what’s going on….

  6. Jeff K says:

    Hm, some (persons) apparently unloaded 1000 April put options on CIBC today for about a $300,000 profit on CIBC’s wonderous 5% drop this morning. Thus expireth my stock tips. You are now on your own. Keep the $300,000, maybe we’ll sue the camera-nazis next time.

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