Police operating under the UK's far-reaching Terrorism Act showed up at Chambers' office. They arrested him and hauled him off for an extended interrogation. The officers had never heard of Twitterwe'll get to that in a secondand so defenses like "I was just venting to my friends on Twitter" didn't really work. After a while Chambers was returned to his cell, until he was eventually released on bail pending a hearing next month.
The nice thing about this debacle is that it brings security theater to a whole new level. Here we have an example where the security forces are so untrained about how terrorists act that it's difficult to believe they could identify genuine threats. It's not that they didn't have to pay Chambers a visit. The interview should have happened at home instead of at workwhere the spectacle put his job at riskbut if you say you're going to blow up an airport the police take notice. We understand that. But the followup was inane. The guy's not a threat. He's just not. This should have been a 3 minute visit.
"Did you write that on Twitter?"
"Yes I did."
"Did you think it would be funny."
"Yes I did."
"You were wrong."
"Yes I was."
Prosecuting him and banning him from the airport is absurd. It's also where the security theater angle comes in. By late 2009 the consensus was already that social networks, including those in the UK, link terrorists. Surely some of those networks are digital, yet UK counter-terror forces don't even know what Twitter is. This does not inspire confidence in their ability to actually boost airline security, and it's particularly troubling coming from a country supposedly known for its ethos of fair play and common sense. Dumb.
[Photo: Dbertman / Wiki Commons]
· Twitter joke led to Terror Act arrest and airport life ban [Independent]
· Airport Security [Jaunted]
· Twitter [Jaunted]