Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The iPod Threat to Homeland Security

I once went to hear a talk about the demographics of Internet usage at an advertising symposium. The speaker began with the joke that "we spend all of our time flying above most of our customers," the implication being that most business people know, little, if anything about those people who are their revenue sources. As if we needed to be reminded, this is not just about business; it is also about homeland security.

Whether or not Minneapolis is representative of current thinking on this matter, a report filed by Randy Furst for the Star Tribune, deserves some consideration:

The Minneapolis city attorney's office has decided to pay seven zombies and their attorney $165,000.

The payout, approved by the City Council on Friday, settles a federal lawsuit the seven filed after they were arrested and jailed for two days for dressing up like zombies in downtown Minneapolis on July 22, 2006, to protest "mindless" consumerism.

When arrested at the intersection of Hennepin Avenue and 6th Street N., most of them had thick white powder and fake blood on their faces and dark makeup around their eyes. They were walking in a stiff, lurching fashion and carrying four bags of sound equipment to amplify music from an iPod when they were arrested by police who said they were carrying equipment that simulated "weapons of mass destruction."

However, they were never charged with any crime.

Disrearding minor details, such as the matter of the obscene language used by the arresting officer to assert that he did not care about constitutional rights, this idea of "simulated 'weapons of mass destruction'" may be symptomatic of the fear-based culture that has emerged from the Bush Administration obsession with homeland security. Just who was thinking what when this phrase was invoked? Did it involve the sound equipment or the iPod? Could this be the first symptom of a witch-hunt directed at Apple? Is Apple no longer "for the rest of us" any more?

1 comment:

DigitalDan said...

I guess they were arrested due to an overabundance of caution.