I am NOT a supporter of the DHS program,”If You See Something, Say Something” Campaign that was championed by Big Sis herself in July, 2010. The program could be best described a page out of George Orwell’s novel, 1984. The program promotes a “public awareness campaign –a simple and effective program to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism and violent crime, and to emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity.”
Unfortunately this is like an open book to ANY citizen to call the local authorities and report what THEY believe to be suspicious. Many Americans have never been trained in spotting suspicious behavior. Hell, even the TSA is attempting to list “behavioral indicators” (Read story) that puts air travelers in a “high risk” category. DHS even claims these so called “make-work” employees are trained to do this.
Now we have the untrained individual reporting anything and everything. I saw it when I was at the airlines and I continue to see it now in my current line of work. What you and I define as “suspicious” could be (and probably is) entirely different.
An I would like to dress in dark clothing and take my camcorder and camera to somewhere like SFO. I would then like to snap some photos and take a bit of video footage. Why? Because I can and at last check there are no rules being broken. Of course, I believe I would last less than 5 minutes, especially if I was near a security checkpoint. My behavior would be deemed “suspicious” and I would either be escorted off airport property or more likely detained by authorities and questioned about my intentions.
Looking over the San Francisco International Airport web site I see nothing posted that says I cannot take pictures or video in the terminal area or anywhere in the airport, ticketed or not. One exception, customs, as I got caught when I was going through in Auckland, New Zealand years back using a video camera on my father’s final flight as a pilot. As I understand MANY individuals use air travel when going on vacation and one of the latest past times is documenting your vacation, especially if you have kids. You take photos and videos.
If I were to take my camera onto the train or stand on a platform and record video of a BART train arriving or departing, I could potentially be deemed “suspicious” by another patron or employee. Again, INTENT is the question here. My intent is to record for posterity sake, but even passing that information on when question would most likely not be satisfactory. Much like the airport web site, there is no restriction against photographing or videotaping within the BART system. But rest assured, you will be questioned if you are caught, regardless of your intent.
Now some of this could be pure speculation on my part, but I believe the “See Something. Say Something” program is just one step closer to what “thoughtcrime” was in 1984. Any sort of behavior can be deemed suspicious!