Civil Liberties

Odinists, iPods, Zombies, and Other Terror Threats


Remember that "strategic report" from the Missouri Information Analysis Center that could barely tell the difference between a terrorist and a guy with a Ron Paul bumper sticker? If you wondered what other alleged menaces attracted MIAC's attention, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a list of the center's other reports; the subjects range from anarchists to Odin-worshippers to "Illicit Use of Digital Music Players."

Meawhile, a similar "fusion center" in Virginia has been warning cops about the dread threats lurking online, which range from actual criminal behavior to harmless parodies and pranks. Raw Story reports:

"Also of note is the phenomenon of hacktivism, defined as 'the nonviolent use of illegal or legally ambiguous digital tools in pursuit of political ends. These tools include web site defacements, redirects, denial-of-service attacks, information theft, web site parodies, virtual sit-ins, virtual sabotage, and software development,'" the memo reads. "On March 28, 2008, Wired News reported that 'Internet griefers'—a makeshift term for people who cause grief—posted code and flashing computer animations with the intention of triggering migraine headaches and seizures. Hacktivism and griefing incidents have ranged from minor inconveniences involving modified website content and denial-of-services to potentially dangerous scenarios, such as the modification of electronic traffic safety signs."

The center's graphic example of the "dangerous" scenario of altered traffic safety signs was culled from a Wired magazine report on an incident in Austin, Texas, where a hacker changed a sign to warn of a coming zombie infestation.

Give the ACLU credit for prescience: They were sounding the alarm about the fusion centers back in 2007.