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Slashdot Mentioned In Virginia Terrorism Report 779

Posted by kdawson
from the true-americans dept.
megamerican alerted us to a leaked document (PDF) from a Virginia Fusion Center titled "2009 Virginia Terrorism Threat Assessment." The document is marked as "Law Enforcement Sensitive," not to be shown to public. Citizens for Legitimate Government has a write-up. Slashdot gets a mention on page 45 — not as a terrorist organization itself, but as one of the places that members of Anonymous may hang out: "A 'loose coalition of Internet denizens,' Anonymous consists largely of users from multiple internet sites such as 4chan, 711chan, 420chan, Something Awful, Fark, Encyclopedia Dramatica, Slashdot, IRC channels, and YouTube. Other social networking sites are also utilized to mobilize physical protests. ... Anonymous is of interest not only because of the sentiments expressed by affiliates and their potential for physical protest, but because they have innovated the use of e-protests and mobilization. Given the lack of a unifying creed, this movement has the potential to inspire lone wolf behavior in the cyber realms." According to the report, cell phones and digital music players have been used to transfer plans related to criminal activity, and therefore presumably could be grounds for suspicion. Podcasting is also suspicious.
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Slashdot Mentioned In Virginia Terrorism Report

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  • A.C. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 10, 2009 @09:23AM (#27530315)

    "Lone wolf" sound MUCH better than anonymous coward!

    • Re:A.C. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 10, 2009 @09:32AM (#27530463)
      Anonymous working as a group is probably the biggest joke on the media I've heard in a while. It's like saying all unsolved murder mysteries are caused by the same terrorist group (until each murder is solved!)

      They just don't understand the joke, do they?
      • Re:A.C. (Score:5, Funny)

        by apostrophesemicolon (816454) on Friday April 10, 2009 @10:54AM (#27531705) Journal
        in related news,
        a coalition of persons of interest is growing at an exponential rate on the Internets. Members of the group, posting in various websites under the handle, Guest, often post provocative and sometimes unlawful comments. By using the handle name "Guest", they were afforded anonymity.

        Several related groups are Anonymous, Anonymous Coward, Public, Guest, and Unregistered.
        • Re:A.C. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by severoon (536737) on Friday April 10, 2009 @12:16PM (#27532873) Journal

          Anonymous consists largely of users from multiple internet sites such as...

          How can any member of Anonymous be "from" a site like fark? Do they issue Anonymous press pass credentials or something?

          This gets the whole idea of Anonymous wrong. Anonymous isn't "from" anywhere. The moment you start thinking you know something about Anonymous, the moment you start trying to put Anonymous into a box, you're no longer talking about Anonymous...you're talking onymous [reference.com].

        • Re:A.C. (Score:5, Funny)

          by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday April 10, 2009 @01:23PM (#27533777) Homepage Journal
          "in related news,

          a coalition of persons of interest is growing at an exponential rate on the Internets. Members of the group, posting in various websites under the handle, Guest, often post provocative and sometimes unlawful comments. By using the handle name "Guest", they were afforded anonymity."

          Not only that...but, I hear there are people who actually register accounts with FALSE or misleading information as to their true identity. Pseudonyms and the like.

          What the hell is this country coming to?

    • Re:A.C. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Assmasher (456699) on Friday April 10, 2009 @10:30AM (#27531317) Journal

      Genius. How great would it be if Slashdot changed 'Anonymous Coward' to Lone Wolf for a few weeks?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 10, 2009 @09:23AM (#27530323)

    All your base are belong to us.

  • Level Up (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kiehlster (844523)
    Looks like Anonymous has just leveled up. I wonder about a couple things. Who paid off Virginia state to label Anonymous as a terrorist organization, and how much of Anonymous will be loyal enough to stick around now that they are labeled as a terrorism threat.
    • Re:Level Up (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Vanders (110092) on Friday April 10, 2009 @09:43AM (#27530611) Homepage

      Who paid off Virginia state to label Anonymous as a terrorist organization

      Scientology. Or Habbo.com. Either could be the culprit.

      how much of Anonymous will be loyal enough to stick around

      That's such an illogical conjecture I'm not sure where to start. "Anonymous" isn't some sort of highly organised group. It's just a bunch of people on various websites. Going to those websites doesn't make you a terrorist, or a furry, or a protester, or whatever it is someone else is doing. "Stick around"? Makes no sense.

      • Re:Level Up (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 10, 2009 @09:53AM (#27530747)

        Anonymous is a microcosm of society. There is no formal method for joining. There are no membership lists or membership dues.

        There are people doing good things (for whatever you consider good), people doing bad things (for whatever you consider bad), people doing neutral things (for any other action), and people doing nothing.

        When someone says "Anonymous will do xyz", they're not charging everyone who associates themselves with the group to do xyz. They are simply invoking the protection of being lost in a crowd and the protection of free association.

        All things that, in and of themselves, are perfectly legal in the United States. However, what is done once under the cloak of these protections, on the other hand, may be illegal.

        Personally, Anonymous scares me a hell of a lot less than the far right militia groups (which, by the way, all do the same thing and are legal).

      • Re:Level Up (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 10, 2009 @10:15AM (#27531063)

        That's such an illogical conjecture I'm not sure where to start. "Anonymous" isn't some sort of highly organised group. It's just a bunch of people on various websites. Going to those websites doesn't make you a terrorist, or a furry, or a protester, or whatever it is someone else is doing. "Stick around"? Makes no sense.

        That's basically what the report actually says about Anonymous. They got a mention and a small write-up in the report because a few individuals identifying with them committed minor acts of vandalism. It says that they aren't really an organized group. The main reason they're even mentioned seems to be to give an example of people coordinating protests or actions online.

        The "phones and ipod" section just gives examples of how terrorists and organized criminals were taking advantage of technology-- examples which are already pretty well-known, really.

        This isn't alarmism on the part of the Virginia government. The summary is silly.

  • by rimcrazy (146022) on Friday April 10, 2009 @09:25AM (#27530349)

    .. and what can we do to stop him!!!

    or her

    or it

    or them

    or they

    or ... no wait. It's me AAAAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhhhh

  • Me too (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 10, 2009 @09:25AM (#27530351)
    I'm Anonymous.
  • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Friday April 10, 2009 @09:26AM (#27530359) Journal

    Points in favor
    * It hijacks internet bandwidth that could be used more productively
    * It performs DDOS attacks on an hourly basis.
    * Millions of hours diverted from productive programming to non-productive uses
    * CSS that makes site look like someone vomited on your monitor.
    * The Idle section

    Points against
    * Millions of anti-social, hormone filled misfits are kept off the streets where they could do real harm.

    We report the facts. YOU decide.

  • of course! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lord Ender (156273) on Friday April 10, 2009 @09:28AM (#27530385) Homepage

    It is well known that Commander Taco is actually a commander in the Judean Peoples' Front terrorist organization. Titles like "Cmdr" just aren't given out to anyone. He's their #2 man.

  • Are they talking about anonymity in general or a group that called Anonymous? Confused.
  • Terrorism (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 10, 2009 @09:29AM (#27530403)
    Since when were protests "terrorism"?
    • Re:Terrorism (Score:5, Informative)

      by Cornwallis (1188489) on Friday April 10, 2009 @09:33AM (#27530465)
      from the site: Seven Signs of Terrorism Certain activities, especially those at or near sensitive facilities, including government, military or other high profile sites or places where large numbers of people congregate, may indicate terrorist planning phases. Suspicious activities of interest that should be reported to law enforcement are commonly referred to as the 7 Signs of Terrorism. Surveillance: Recording or monitoring activities. May include drawing diagrams, note taking, use of cameras, binoculars or other vision-enhancing devices or possessing floor plans or blueprints of key facilities. Elicitation: Attempts to obtain operation, security and personnel-related information regarding a key facility. May be made by mail, fax, e-mail, telephone or in person. Tests of Security: Attempts to measure reaction times to security breaches or to penetrate physical security barriers or procedures in order to assess strengths and weaknesses. Acquiring Supplies: Attempts to improperly acquire items that could be used in a terrorist act. May include the acquisition of explosives, weapons, harmful chemicals, flight manuals, law enforcement or military equipment, uniforms, identification badges or the equipment to manufacture false identification. Suspicious Persons: Someone who does not appear to belong in a workplace, neighborhood or business establishment due to their behavior, including unusual questions or statements they make. Dry Runs/Trial Runs: Behavior that appears to be preparation for a terrorist act without actually committing the act. Activity could include mapping out routes and determining the timing of traffic lights and flow. Deploying Assets: Placing people, equipment and supplies into position to commit the act. This is the last opportunity to alert authorities before the terrorist act occurs.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Zelig (73519)

      Since they demonstrate the tactical capacity to put a bunch of people in a place, at a time, without law enforcement getting a sniff of it beforehand.

      Don't think of it as terrorism per se: think of it as a people-organizing toolset, and it ought to terrify any police state who's paying attention. To the extent the US behaves like a police state, this is a threat.

      Take a look at Improv Everywhere's Cell Phone Symphony. Heck, much of what IE does is militarily relevant. It says, "We're a bunch of peaceful c

  • So anywhere you can be anonymous must be stamped out. in the name of fighting terrorism.

    Open wifi, not keeping weblogs, ISPs not keeping logs forever... you get the idea.

    Need a national registrar of mac addresses ( ok, i know they can be spoofed, but has reality ever got in the way before? )

  • Ha! (Score:5, Funny)

    by mccalli (323026) on Friday April 10, 2009 @09:30AM (#27530421) Homepage
    ""A 'loose coalition of Internet denizens,' Anonymous consists largely of users from multiple internet sites such as 4chan, 711chan, 420chan, Something Awful, Fark, Encyclopedia Dramatica, Slashdot, IRC channels, and YouTube. "

    In your face, Digg! Yeah!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by meringuoid (568297)

      ""A 'loose coalition of Internet denizens,' Anonymous consists largely of users from multiple internet sites such as 4chan, 711chan, 420chan, Something Awful, Fark, Encyclopedia Dramatica, Slashdot, IRC channels, and YouTube. "

      In your face, Digg! Yeah!

      Never mind Digg, the list's missing an important entry here. Anyone who's ever been raided knows perfectly well that Anonymous come from ebaumsworld.

  • by WCMI92 (592436) on Friday April 10, 2009 @09:32AM (#27530445) Homepage

    How DARE citizens engage in the rights to:

    Free speech
    Assembly
    Petition the government (or government institutions).

    Why those subversives who not only wrote it into law, but preceded those rights with the words "Congress shall make no law abridging..." must have been terrorists or something.

    No wonder this was marked "not to show to public". How dare we engage in such subversion of the LAW enforcement establishment.

    The way I read this is that they are setting up pretexts for "probable cause" to detain and search people who engage in normal, legal behavior. Yet more evidence that the "war on terror" and the PATRIOT act are being used to expand law enforcement power over the law abiding, when instead such energy would be better spent guarding the porous borders or monitoring the FOREIGN FUNDED (Saudi) mosques (which is where most world wide terrorism originates).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak (669689)

      Free speech
      Assembly
      Petition the government (or government institutions).
      ...
      No wonder this was marked "not to show to public". How dare we engage in such subversion of the LAW enforcement establishment.

      Generally speaking, those three things are not directly equivalent to "subversion of the LAW enforcement establishment".

      This is more generally indicative of a new age of governmental and police paranoia where anywhere and everything is a potential place or tool for Bad Things(TM). And they're right. They just haven't figured out how to accurately assess the risk levels yet.

    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Friday April 10, 2009 @09:58AM (#27530825) Journal

      when instead such energy would be better spent guarding the porous borders or monitoring the FOREIGN FUNDED (Saudi) mosques (which is where most world wide terrorism originates).

      [citation needed]

      Perhaps you're unaware of the terrorism that occurs in central Africa on a daily basis, that is conveniently ignored? Or does that not count because it doesn't greatly affect American economic interests?

  • by rotide (1015173) on Friday April 10, 2009 @09:36AM (#27530509)
    VA better watch itself, all of us Slashdoters may assemble, protest and overthrow their state government!

    Slashdot is known for being a terrorist hotbed of activity.

    Seriously though, is it getting just so utterly bullshit that they list Slashdot as a potential terrorist hangout? I mean, really? Is the government this god damned stupid? I suppose in the back of my mind I always knew it was, but wow.

    I don't want to come off as a nutjob here, but this country is falling down hard. A new revolution in the next 100 years appears to be more than possible at this point. Laws are getting absolutely ridiculous.

    I realize VA is far from the federal government, but this "OMG EVERY1 IZ TERRORIZT!" stuff is getting really scary.

    Terrorist.. This decades Communist.. Make lists and round 'em up, boys!

    Fucking scary.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rev_sanchez (691443)
      I completely agree that "terrorism" is the fashionable word to bludgeon enemies with. One of the more ridiculous examples was from Ron Paige, President Bush's first Secretary of Education, who once referred to the National Education Association as a terrorist organization. It's essentially Godwining public discourse.

      The biggest problem with this particular instance is that, unlike the Ron Paige matter, technophobes won't be able to dismiss it as the grossly hyperbolic bullshit it is. It's highly irres
  • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Friday April 10, 2009 @09:41AM (#27530583) Homepage
    I always wondered who that prolific commenter 'Anonymous Coward' was. Now I know that s/he is acting to expose that bunch of dangerous lunatics: the scientologists -- so s/he has my respect as someone involved in a good fight.

    On another note: if Anonymous is going after others who are detrimental to society (eg scientologists) I suppose that we should attach the label vigilante - normally not seen as the right way of going about things. However: the authorities have completely failed to protect us from these murdering crooks (by which I mean scientologists) which is why Anonymous is doing something. What they have done is to make a lot of noise, get up the crooks' noses, etc - all legitimate, so why are they listed here ? -- is it because the govt does not like anything that it cannot control ?

  • On /. (Score:4, Funny)

    by infuriatedweasel (1326439) on Friday April 10, 2009 @09:48AM (#27530679)
    Anonymous is a coward, so I don't think they have anything to worry about.
  • by sgt scrub (869860) <saintium@ y a hoo.com> on Friday April 10, 2009 @09:51AM (#27530723)

    The US government takes fingerprints, footprints, blood type, and DNA information from people when they are born. Later they take dental prints. Until a few years ago they enforced traceable information to be placed on products that can be used destructively. Now everything has RFID tags. Communicating by phone or mail can easily be monitored, and arguably is. No thing and no body is anonymous in the physical world. Now something existing that tears down that wall, anonymous communication. Ironically, it originated by the US government so they (the government) could be free in case of a power switch. I guess there is nothing more frightening to power than freedom you must share.

  • by CopaceticOpus (965603) on Friday April 10, 2009 @09:54AM (#27530751)

    "Our report on the terrorist group is complete."
    "What did you find?"
    "Well, for one thing, we think they have been using the web to visit popular websites."
    "Okay... what else?"
    "Our findings indicate they have been eating food, possibly sourced from restaurants. Also, we think they've been engaging in verbal communication."
    "That doesn't exactly narrow it down, does it? Based on that, almost anyone could be a susp... oh! I get it. Nice work!"

  • by parc (25467) on Friday April 10, 2009 @09:55AM (#27530775)

    This raises an interesting question: could I actually create an alternate communication method using A.C. postings alone? Using a cipher symbol alphabet consisting entirely of sensible words or sentences, I could hide inside of the more popular systems that allow anonymous posting and probably not even be noticed (I mean hell, how many people do more than scan the A.C. posting to see if it makes sense?).

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Red Flayer (890720)

      This raises an interesting question: could I actually create an alternate communication method using A.C. postings alone? Using a cipher symbol alphabet consisting entirely of sensible words or sentences, I could hide inside of the more popular systems that allow anonymous posting and probably not even be noticed (I mean hell, how many people do more than scan the A.C. posting to see if it makes sense?).

      What did you think slashdot memes were?

      All your base reference == mission accomplished.
      Natalie Portman r

  • by Ant P. (974313) on Friday April 10, 2009 @10:04AM (#27530903) Homepage

    Groups that exist to deny us basic freedom in the name of their religion are terrorists, aren't they?

  • by captainpanic (1173915) on Friday April 10, 2009 @10:06AM (#27530927)

    Isn't it easier to list those websites where people are NOT allowed to be anonymous?

    If I were in the Virginia govt., I would block all internet, tv, radio, phone. You'll feel much safer if you don't know what's happening in the evil outside world.

  • by Intron (870560) on Friday April 10, 2009 @10:08AM (#27530945)

    According to the report, cell phones and digital music players have been used to transfer plans related to criminal activity, and therefore presumably could be grounds for suspicion. Podcasting is also suspicious.

    I am told that terrorists now have access to a medium that can't be wiretapped, can be folded or rolled up for ease of concealment, and can be destroyed in seconds with an ordinary match. I'm hoping that the authorities don't paper over this threat. This stuff is so cheap it practically grows on trees.

  • by Provocateur (133110) on Friday April 10, 2009 @10:19AM (#27531137) Homepage

    Do I get a free T-shirt?

  • by HikingStick (878216) <z01riemer @ h o t m a i l . com> on Friday April 10, 2009 @10:38AM (#27531433)
    This report is just an example of Social Science research gone bad. Someone picked up on the fact that some individuals use "Anonymous" logons for ill, and they made a generalization that this must apply to all persons who use "Anonymous" logons. That's a cardinal sin in social science research. While a goal of such research is to make generalizations about a group, such theories must be tested before they can be asserted as even mildly authoritative. Had they simply done a little more research (or hired an outside researcher who wasn't already looking for "the devil"), they also might have learned that ordinary people will often use anonymous logons for other reasons:
    • They don't want to hassle with registering on yet another site.
    • They are using a public computer and don't want to enter their account information there.
    • They are replying to another post on a highly sensitive topic, want to speak frankly, but don't want that thread tied to their primary user identity.
    • They fat-fingered their password too many times and just don't want to bother with the reset at the time.
    • They know that others in the physical world have learned their moniker and visit the same sites, and they want to make comments that might not be well-received by their real-world counterparts.
    • They could be making political commentary and want to protect themselves from government sanction. Hey, the founding fathers did it, and it seems that we (in the United States) may have more and more reason to do that as time progresses since our government is taking on more characteristics of Big Brother lately.

    There might be dozens of other reasons why people would legitimately want to stay anonymous.

    Oh, yes, I realize I posted this one while logged in. Let them mark me an enemy of the state if they so desire.

    [I hereby raspberry those segments of United States government, or any other agencies for that matter, that conduct such shoddy research and make generalizations based on fear and incomplete information.]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by phantomfive (622387)

      [I hereby raspberry those segments of United States government, or any other agencies for that matter, that conduct such shoddy research and make generalizations based on fear and incomplete information.]

      The fact that you can do this unmolested indicates that freedom of speech isn't nearly dead in the US. Read the article, it's a lot less inflammatory than the summary.

  • by sjs132 (631745) on Friday April 10, 2009 @10:51AM (#27531661) Homepage Journal

    " According to the report, cell phones and digital music players have been used to transfer plans related to criminal activity, and therefore presumably could be grounds for suspicion. Podcasting is also suspicious.
    "

    Wow.... "THEY" (ie, the "man") really fear us... I was @ DC for Cherry Festival just last week. I didn't understand why they made an announcement on the subway ("Metro" for the knowledgables) about how we were not to have our cell phones and digital music players out on the train, and to report supicious packages. I didn't understand the cell phone / mp3 player part till I reall the above. And as far as supicious packages go, all packages are supicious now-a-days if they are not mine.. How many times do you hear about donuts and flower/chalk being blown up by police because someone dropped a box and didn't get back to it in time...

    I thought we would get "Change" but I guess not yet...

  • Anonymous (Score:4, Funny)

    by mrsquid0 (1335303) on Friday April 10, 2009 @11:46AM (#27532441) Homepage

    Anonymous's ideology sounds intriguing. How does one go about joining them? I would like to subscribe to their newsletter.

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