Being concerned about your online privacy might be a sign that you’re up to no good, says the FBI and the US Department of Justice, via a collection of 25 fliers to be distributed to people working at airports, construction sites, electronic stores, hotels/motels, storage services, financial institutions, and many other places.
Among the fliers is also one aimed at Internet cafe employees and, among others, lists the following behaviors as suspicious:
- being overly concerned about privacy, attempting to shield the screen from view of others
- using anonymizers, portals, or other means to shield IP address
- using encryption or steganography software
- communicating through VOIP or a PC game.
To be fair, the leaflet does include a lot of other suspicious behaviors and notes, at the end, that “it is important to remember that just because someone’s speech, actions, beliefs, appearance, or way of life is different; it does not mean that he or she is suspicious,” but I suspect that will not give much comfort to people who might be flagged as terrorists just because they care about their privacy.
Unfortunately, it shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise that US government and its agencies subscribe to Google CEO’s view on privacy (“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place”), and I believe that most – if not all – world governments are of the same mind.