Did you pay cash for that latte this morning at the Starbuck’s drive-through? Well, that smiling lady who handed you your frothy espresso and your change may have been taking down your license plate as you drove off — before jumping on the phone to report your “suspicious activity” to the FBI.
Really? Yes, crazy as it sounds, in our post-9/11 snitch/spy/surveillance society, if you “always pay cash,” you may be marked as a potential terrorist. That’s according to an FBI flyer that appears to be aimed at proprietors and employees of Internet cafés. The single-page flyer (see below), entitled “Communities Against Terrorism: Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities Related to Internet Café,” asks: “What Should I Consider Suspicious?” The flyer then answers that people should be viewed with suspicion if they:
“Are overly concerned about privacy, attempts [sic] to shield the screen from view of others.”
That’s the first of six bullet points that are considered “indicators of potential terrorist activities.”
The next bullet point indicator targets people who “always pay cash or use credit card(s) in different name(s).”
So, if you are security conscious about your computer screen because you are concerned about preventing identity theft, or if you simply don’t want busybodies and snoops minding your private business, you may wind up on an FBI terrorist suspect list. Ditto if you carry on your daily transactions with cash, whether it’s because you’re trying to avoid paying banking fees associated with plastic cards, are trying to avoid credit card debt, or because you value your privacy.