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jvmorris
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reply to dave

Re: FBI:paying cash cup of cofee: 147;Potential terrorist activi

said by dave:

It says "internet cafe". My understanding of that term is that it means a place whose primary business is selling internet access. None of the coffee shops that I have visited, that incidentally offer internet access to their customers, call themselves "internet cafes".

Well, I have a great deal of difficulty in believing that it was the intent of this FBI guidance to limit itself so narrowly, especially since (in the US), the number of organizations included would be vanishingly small, as you have already noted. I have difficulty in believing that the FBI's intent was expressly to exclude libraries, bookstores, airport terminals, and other establishments simply because their primary purpose is not providing fee-paid internet access. It just doesn't make sense to me to thereby exclude places like Starbucks where one's anonymity can be more easily established. No internet gaming businesses, no internet gambling establishments, no internet prostitution services (these last two being prominent in the list of places that the FBI itself has mentioned tend to characterize themselves as "internet cafes" when it suits their objectives)?
Yes I read that before I posted. Indeed, it had a lot to do with my formulation of my response.

Naturally, I can't tell you what the FBI's intent was - I merely note that the words "internet cafe" are prominent, and observe that I have never as far as I can remember been anywhere that called itself an internet cafe, though I have seen them.

Which, of course, would make the issuance of this guidance largely pointless, wouldn't it? For the most part, this is not true of other classes of business enterprises for which the FBI also issued guidance. Again, I think a bit more clarification in the guidance would have made much more sense. I continue to think that it should be something along the lines of "organizations, public or private, that offer internet connectivity for a fee or free, and possibly in conjunction with other services".
--
Regards,
Joseph V. Morris


coldmoon
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reply to FFH5
said by FFH5:

said by Curiosity:

If people took that advice seriously, there would be so many tips called in about it that a tip about a genuine crime would be like a needle in a haystack. I think the FBI would be overwhelmed by it.

Who cares. It isn't a law requiring these coffee selling outlets(no matter what you call them) do anything. All it is is a flyer saying "If you want to help out, here is what you can look for".

P.S.>> And lets face facts here. This is an offer to profile without getting in trouble with the politically correct. We all know that it is aimed at keeping an eye on middle eastern customers who are using their computers to access the internet in places that would be hard to trace. If store owners get suspicious, they have a legal nail to hang their hat on to report someone.

Your post seems a bit contradictory. First you say there is no law and then say the manager of the cafe has a "legal nail to hang their hat on..." when using profiling to ascertain potential suspicious activity.

No law - no protection...
--
Returnil - 21st Century body armor for your PC


FFH5
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said by coldmoon:

said by FFH5:

said by Curiosity:

If people took that advice seriously, there would be so many tips called in about it that a tip about a genuine crime would be like a needle in a haystack. I think the FBI would be overwhelmed by it.

Who cares. It isn't a law requiring these coffee selling outlets(no matter what you call them) do anything. All it is is a flyer saying "If you want to help out, here is what you can look for".

P.S.>> And lets face facts here. This is an offer to profile without getting in trouble with the politically correct. We all know that it is aimed at keeping an eye on middle eastern customers who are using their computers to access the internet in places that would be hard to trace. If store owners get suspicious, they have a legal nail to hang their hat on to report someone.

Your post seems a bit contradictory. First you say there is no law and then say the manager of the cafe has a "legal nail to hang their hat on..." when using profiling to ascertain potential suspicious activity.

No law - no protection...

Protection from lawsuits.
--
The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, I'm from the government and I'm here to help.
»www.politico.com/2012-election/



coldmoon
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quote:
Protection from lawsuits.
How so? If there is no exemption or specific instructions codified into some law then why wouldn't anti-discriminatory laws now in effect be valid?
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Returnil - 21st Century body armor for your PC


jvmorris
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reply to Zyrtec
I just had a rather funny thought and went back and re-read the flyer before bringing it up.

And this is: Just what 'class' of people in the US are most likely to be flagged by an overzealous application of these guidelines? And then it struck me:
• Persons engaged in law enforcement at the national, state, or local level.
• People involved in national defense including uniformed personnel, civilian employees of the Department of Defense, and defense contractors, and
• Those people involved in other intelligence and national security fields.

Now, being in the DC Metro area, I would have to admit that we have a surplus of random persons falling into one of these three categories here. And they tend to congregate at businesses where they can get internet access when away from their office or duty station. But, and even taking the surplus into account, these are the people most likely to be flagged by these guidelines!

When this hits the fan, I am really glad I'm not the FBI yahoo that instigated this program without thinking it through a bit better.
--
Regards,
Joseph V. Morris


fatness
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reply to dave
said by dave:

2) You are misinterpreting what the FBI notice actually says. It's aimed at "internet cafes" (do they still exist?) where one pays for net access, not "coffee shops" - thus a reasonable reader can infer it's basically cash-for-net-access that is the indicator, not cash-for-coffee.

I agree. If they meant coffee shops or all businesses that sell coffee, as the OP suggests, the flyer would have said "coffee shops" or "businesses that sell coffee". The FBI had no problem being specific about what business type they were talking about in all the (Bozo-Headed) flyers: »publicintelligence.net/fbi-suspi···-flyers/

Threat Areas

* Airport Service Providers
* Beauty/Drug Suppliers
* Bulk Fuel Distributors
* Construction Sites
* Dive/Boat Shops
* Electronics Stores
* Farm Supply Stores
* Financial Institutions
* General Aviation
* General Public
* Hobby Shops
* Home Improvement
* Hotels/Motels
* Internet Cafes
* Shopping Malls
* Martial Arts/Paintball
* Mass Transportation
* Military Surplus
* Peroxide Explosives
* Recognizing Sleepers
* Rental Cars
* Rental Properties
* Rental Trucks
* Storage Facilities
* Tattoo Shops
--
hey Dale


jvmorris
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T-Mobile (alone!) lists 15 affiliated internet hotspotsen.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotspot_%28Wi-Fi%29 ) within a 5-mile radius of where I live, which is what I maintain the FBI should have intended to be included, whether it did or not. These are a robust mix of coffee shops, hotels, and bookstores. There are none of the fast food places, libraries, or universities listed by T-Mobile, which are likely serviced by other internet service providers. By contrast, the number of places offering internet connectivity that characterize themselves as internet cafes? Exactly one, according to a Google search, within this 5-mile radius. If I were the FBI, I would certainly have intended to include internet hotspots.

So, fatness, are you maintaining that the FBI screwed up in characterizing the businesses of interest or that they have some specific reason for excluding everything but internet cafes, mostly defined along the lines that dave indicated?
--
Regards,
Joseph V. Morris

dave
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But here's the thing - most of the flyer only makes sense for businesses where customers are using computers that are owned by the business. The local coffee-shop employees aren't really in a position to know what some guy with his own laptop is doing.

Yes, there are not many 'internet cafes' in the USA. It's a dead business model. I therefore conclude that the FBI has produced a pamphlet that is a little behind the times.


jvmorris
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I'm not following you here, dave (rather obviously). Could you elaborate on why you think that most of the flyer only applies to businesses that own (or lease) the computers?

For that matter, what about university libraries?
--
Regards,
Joseph V. Morris

dave
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quote:
Activities on Computer indicate:
* Evidence of a residential based internet provider (signs on to Comcast, AOL, etc.)
* Use of anonymizers, portals, or other means to shield IP address
* Suspicious or coded writings, use of code word sheets, cryptic ledgers, etc.
* Encryption or use of software to hide encrypted data in digital photos, etc.
* Suspicious communications using VOIP or communicating through a PC game

Use Computers to:
* Download content of extreme/radical nature with violent themes
* Gather information about vulnerable infrastructure or obtain photos, maps or
diagrams of transportation, sporting venues, or populated locations
* Purchase chemicals, acids, hydrogen peroxide, acetone, fertilizer, etc.
* Download or transfer files with ¡§how-to¡¨ content such as:
- Content of extreme/radical nature with violent themes
- Anarchist Cookbook, explosives or weapons information
- Military tactics, equipment manuals, chemical or biological information
- Terrorist/revolutionary literature
- Preoccupation with press coverage of terrorist attacks
- Defensive tactics, police or government information
- Information about timers, electronics, or remote transmitters / receivers

Assuming that your average coffee shop basically buys broadband access and plugs in an access point from the likes of Linksys, the coffee shop employee isn't going to be able to tell if much of the above is happening. Their business is selling coffee.

Most of the 'evidence' walks out of the door with the customer's laptop.

Never having been in an internet cafe, I nevertheless suppose that they're more oriented to selling access as a business, thus keep some sort of logs, and are also likely to have employees walking around and thus seeing what people are doing (if for no other reason than to offer assistance where needed).

The 'evidence' fundamentally exists on hardware owned by the internet cafe.


fatness
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reply to jvmorris
said by jvmorris:

So, fatness, are you maintaining that the FBI screwed up in characterizing the businesses of interest or that they have some specific reason for excluding everything but internet cafes, mostly defined along the lines that dave indicated?

Neither.

I'm saying they wrote a flyer about internet cafes, which they intended to be about internet cafes. That is why they distributed the flyers to internet cafes.
--
hey Dale


jvmorris
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fatness,

What dave and I are (apparently) disagreeing about is just what is an internet cafe. As far as I can tell, the FBI does not define or characterize the term, the Department of Justice does not either. Apparently, there is no SIC or NAICS code for 'internet cafe'.

Your first statement is therefore little more than a tautology lacking much in the way of substance.

I'm curious just how they then distributed the flyer to 'internet cafes', which there seems to be no consistent, never mind comprehensive, way to identify .

Of the nine Starbucks that provide Wi-Fi (only) access nearby, many use the keyword 'internet cafe' as a search term on their websites. They are, therefore, self-characterizing themselves as internet cafes. On the other hand, they are not relying exclusively on computers that they provide (be they owned or leased) and their revenues are hardly dominated by sales of web access services.
--
Regards,
Joseph V. Morris


EGeezer
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1 edit
reply to dave
While Joseph raises good points about the breadth and descriptions, I also agree with Dave - I can pick out several things that by themselves are ridiculous if taken as reasonable indicators of terrorism by themselves. I'd guess that the paper is aimed at operators of commercial internet access sites and could even be designed for an international audience where internet cafes are more prevalent.

However, reading the paper like an investigator, I'd consider the whole document and look for patterns of deception or abnormal conduct before spending even a second on it.

The state and federal people I know that are in JTTFs have stacks of cases on their desks and a workload that would preclude any significant time being spent because aunt Minnie called to report she saw a swarthy Middle Eastern guy pay cash for his latte at the local Starbucks.

"Hello, FBI? I JUST saw a terrorist!!!"

"You did? would you describe the person and what he was doing?"

"He was dark skinned, had a beard and had a towel wrapped around his head. He paid for a grande Cappucino with cash."

" *cough* was there anything else? "

"Yes, he had an accent. I'm sure he's going to blow up something He said something about being a 'seek'."

"Do you mean Sikh?"

"Yes! that's it!!! I'm sure he's one of those ayrab terrorists seeking to kill millions! "

"We'll get right on it, and assign a dedicated team of investigators and forensic experts to work day and night to nail this evil demon. Thanks for letting us know. "



But then, Alex Jones would find a conspiracy in a government agent paying cash for a cuppa, for no other reason than to drive hits to his site.

dave
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reply to jvmorris
I haven't looked, but I bet the FBI doesn't define "tattoo shops" either.

I'm simply arguing based on my understanding on what an "internet cafe" is -- it's a place where the business is selling access to the internet, not access to coffee.


jvmorris
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reply to EGeezer
First, loved your little narrative snippet.

said by EGeezer:

While Joseph raises good points about the breadth and descriptions, I also agree with Dave - I can pick out several things that by themselves are ridiculous if taken as reasonable indicators of terrorism by themselves.

I think that dave and I (and just about everyone else who's seen fit to comment on this issue anywhere) would be in agreement with that sentiment.

I'd guess that the paper is aimed at operators of commercial internet access sites and could even be designed for an international audience where internet cafes are more prevalent.

Okay, I'll agree with that characterization of who should be the targeted audience; still, that's a lot wider than dave's rather narrow characterization. (And I still think it could profit from a significant rewrite.)
More to the point, worldwide, the number of 'internet cafes', as dave has elected to describe them, are in a state of precipitous decline and are being lost in a flood of Wi-Fi access hotspots. It is, therefore (and in my opinion) a capital error to focus on such a narrow definition of the relevant businesses.

However, reading the paper like an investigator, I'd consider the whole document and look for patterns of deception or abnormal conduct before spending even a second on it.

Time for a "yes, but ...", the target audience is not investigators but rather the owners/managers/employees of such businesses.

The state and federal people I know that are in JTTFs have stacks of cases on their desks and a workload that would preclude any significant time being spent because aunt Minnie called to report she saw a swarthy Middle Eastern guy pay cash for his latte at the local Starbucks.

Exactly. And poorly written guidelines like this aren't helping the situation. I'm sure that the FBI staffers who generated this (and the other) guideline(s) thought he'd done a sterling job; but then, they weren't going to be confronted with the consequences.

. . . .



But then, Alex Jones would find a conspiracy in a government agent paying cash for a cuppa, for no other reason than to drive hits to his site.

That may well be so, but -- in the current instance -- you can find essentially identical, critical comments on HuffingtonPost and the Slate websites, to name only two from the other side of the spectrum. In other words, the criticism of this initiative is not a right-left or conservative-liberal divide.
--
Regards,
Joseph V. Morris


EGeezer
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said by jvmorris:

poorly written guidelines like this aren't helping the situation. I'm sure that the FBI staffers who generated this (and the other) guideline(s) thought he'd done a sterling job; but then, they weren't going to be confronted with the consequences.

Having seen misinterpretations of the paper's content by some folks here who are at least somewhat familiar with security technology, it's clear the paper needs to be rewritten to give a better sense of what to look for. It needs to be at the "Reader's Digest" level for owners and operators of publicly accessible internet services, not at a LES document level.

The problem the writer will face is trying to accurately convey to non-security people what they really need to look for without somebody saying "well, they said in this sentence that we should report somebody who pays cash for a cup of coffee".

-- in the current instance -- you can find essentially identical, critical comments on HuffingtonPost and the Slate websites, to name only two from the other side of the spectrum. In other words, the criticism of this initiative is not a right-left or conservative-liberal divide.

Good point to make and remember. As for Alex Jones, he has been spouting right and left-wing conspiracies for years, and I definitely agree it's not a righty-lefty thing. My biggest concerns are legislators and people at the top in government and the private sector who push for systemic and globally instituted legislation, policies and practices that are "security theater" that erode individual freedom, privacy and constitutional protections.


Blackbird
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reply to Zyrtec
When a business, be it an Internet Cafe (though there are none in my metro area) or one with a WiFi hotspot (there are many locally), gets a circular like this, what will really happen? The owner will open the mailing, read it, and (if he's feeling especially cooperative and "patriotic") might point it out to his employees or even post it on some wall behind the counter. That is, if he's not too put off by the thirteen other "notification" mailings he's recently received from the state Workman's Comp bureau, OSHA, the Social Security Admin, the IRS, the local board of zoning, the board of health, his several insurers, those three notices from the national chain to which his franchise reports, and the half dozen "missing child" posters that have all just come his way. Will he himself actually study it, parse out the gist of it, and internalize the principles hinted at therein? He probably lacks the time, focus, or interest to become an "investigator"... he's an owner of a small business or a manager of a chain outlet - so such a result is more than doubtful.

This has the earmarks of every similar fruitless initiative from World War I and II days and other later eras: variously arouse segments of the populace, get all those countless eyes working for 'the cause', encourage "reporting" of 'suspicious' individuals (called 'denunciations' in another place and time), and make all the citizens believe they're key players on the team at war with ____ (fill in the blank). But the real purpose was always the latter - get the folks more solidly behind the authorities and those in power through a sense of participation. The unintended consequences (they're always present, aren't they) were to deluge the reporting authorities with myriad nonsense "observations" and to smear the reputations of (or at least cause grief or inconvenience to) a number of innocent victims.
--
"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God!" -- P.Henry, 1775


fatness
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reply to jvmorris
said by jvmorris:

fatness,

What dave and I are (apparently) disagreeing about is just what is an internet cafe. As far as I can tell, the FBI does not define or characterize the term, the Department of Justice does not either. Apparently, there is no SIC or NAICS code for 'internet cafe'.

Your first statement is therefore little more than a tautology lacking much in the way of substance.

Then let me be more plain. I think you've put far more thought into defining what (the FBI thinks) is an "internet cafe" than the FBI did.

Enjoy your tangent with dave.
--
hey Dale


Snowy
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reply to Blackbird
said by Blackbird:

When a business, be it an Internet Cafe (though there are none in my metro area) or one with a WiFi hotspot (there are many locally), gets a circular like this, what will really happen? The owner will open the mailing, read it, and (if he's feeling especially cooperative and "patriotic") might point it out to his employees or even post it on some wall behind the counter.

That's exactly my thought on the matter.
I'll take it a level up (or down) by saying the ambiguous nature of 'internet cafe' may not be an oversight.


EGeezer
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reply to Zyrtec
I've done a bit of hunting for the original source for the PDF, looking in TLO and JRIC websites. I was unable to find it as a public distribution form aqny "official" source.

The layout looks consistent with some flyer or other presentation material that might be handed out at a fusion seminar.

It would be interesting to see to whom jiirc, tlo or FBI actually distributed it. I suspect they didn't wallpaper it out to the general public.


jvmorris
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No, the FBI didn't wallpaper it; that was mentioned in several of the articles that I read.

Late Addendum Damn, these flyers are all over the Internet. From a quick bit of Google surfing, it appears that this came into the general public domain as a consequence of quite a few local law enforcement agencies simply publishing these flyers on their websites. (So much for my query as to how they figured out what an internet cafe was so that they could send them the flyer.)

I suspect that someone in Washington is not terribly happy about this turn of events, not that we're ever going to hear about some of the resulting recriminations.

--
Regards,
Joseph V. Morris


EGeezer
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4 edits
said by jvmorris:

From a quick bit of Google surfing, it appears that this came into the general public domain as a consequence of quite a few local law enforcement agencies simply publishing these flyers on their websites. (So much for my query as to how they figured out what an internet cafe was so that they could send them the flyer.)

I had to go off to other pursuits involving Happy Hour two for ones, so thanks for your followup internet archeology.

This little fiasco is why one should never, ever, publish LES or FOUO/FIUO stuff to the public arena. I'm mildly surprised the flyer (or slide from a presentation) wasn't disclaimed or at least classified FIUO.

EDIT - added -

Based on the disclaimer at the bottom of the page, which I and probably everyone else skipped over, the whole flap is a tempest in a teapot(paragraph breaks added for ease of reading). I note the grant year cited was 2007.

This project was supported by Grant Number 2007-MU-BX-K002, awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

Each indictor(sic) listed above, is by itself, lawful conduct or behavior and may also constitute the exercise of rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. In addition, there may be a wholly innocent explanation for conduct or behavior that appears suspicious in nature.

For this reason, no single indicator should be the sole basis for law enforcement action. The totality of behavioral indicators and other relevant circumstances should be evaluated when considering any law enforcement response or action.

When you google the grant number, you will see a whole set of "communities Against Terrorism" documents for various business sectors

Also see
»www.llr.state.sc.us/POL/Contract···tion.PDF

»info.publicintelligence.net/FBI-···ores.pdf

»www.columbuspolice.org/Units/TEW···fold.pdf

»www.ascpskincare.com/content/img···tors.pdf

»www.ilministorage.org/images/upl···ties.pdf

So there.


jvmorris
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If you've been sitting around on the veranda at Captiva drowning yourself in tequila sunsets, . . .

Yes, while the grant was awarded in 2007, many grants are multi-year and I think that was likely the case in this instance.
Digging through the program documentation on SLATT, SAR, and CAT, it becomes obvious that these flyers were just one small component of a massive program. Even after the contract was completed, the flyers had to be created, reviewed, approved, and distributed.

I think the oldest date I've seen on any of the various PDFs I've looked at is mid-March 2011, so they may only have been in existence for about a year. I didn't bother to check the dates on the modified versions on some LEA websites, which is where I suspect the public leak originated.

There are published SLATT documents from 2010 that talk about the CAT program and rather generally about the details, but they never mention these flyers, so I think they likely didn't exist at all (in any sort of final form) until sometime in 2010 or later.
--
Regards,
Joseph V. Morris


fatness
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reply to jvmorris
said by jvmorris:

Damn, these flyers are all over the Internet. From a quick bit of Google surfing, it appears that this came into the general public domain as a consequence of quite a few local law enforcement agencies simply publishing these flyers on their websites.

That's my understanding, too. This was one of the first law enforcement sites I saw them on (they're all listed on the right side): »www.osceola.org/sheriff/113-1459···tors.cfm



--
hey Dale


fatness
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reply to EGeezer
said by EGeezer:

Based on the disclaimer at the bottom of the page, which I and probably everyone else skipped over, the whole flap is a tempest in a teapot

That legal weasel-speak paragraph was noticed in the first topic on these flyers. »Do You Like Online Privacy? You May Be a Terrorist

It does nothing to minimize the heavy-handed stupidity of the flyers. It's just some budding government PR lawyer's idea of CYA that would please a boss.
--
hey Dale


fatness
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reply to Zyrtec
And I'd guess this was the intensive search method of identifying 'internet cafes' used by the FBI.
--
hey Dale


jvmorris
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Yep, that's exactly what I did to find out if we had any Internet cafes around me.
--
Regards,
Joseph V. Morris


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reply to fatness
said by fatness:

And I'd guess this was the intensive search method of identifying 'internet cafes' used by the FBI.

They could have refined their search...
»maps.google.com/maps?q=terrorist···wQ_AUoAg


EGeezer
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reply to fatness
That settles it. They definitely want us to report anyone paying for coffee with cash.


ashrc4
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reply to fatness
said by fatness:

said by EGeezer:

Based on the disclaimer at the bottom of the page, which I and probably everyone else skipped over, the whole flap is a tempest in a teapot

That legal weasel-speak paragraph was noticed in the first topic on these flyers. »Do You Like Online Privacy? You May Be a Terrorist

It does nothing to minimize the heavy-handed stupidity of the flyers. It's just some budding government PR lawyer's idea of CYA that would please a boss.

Click the "Term of use" on the home site of the flyer and it suggest that "IF YOU ARE DISSATISFIED WITH THIS WEB SITE, OR ANY PORTION THEREOF, YOUR EXCLUSIVE REMEDY SHALL BE TO STOP USING THE WEB SITE."

And assertions aside for a minute it only suggests that "What should i consider suspicious."

Suspicious does not = guilty.....No matter how hard one tries.
--
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