Thursday, 5 June 2008

watching the detectives

The IT liftout in today’s Guardian contained an amusing note about the fantasy some officials and many members of the general public have that terrorists use photographs to plan their activities. This belief can alter the perception of humble snappers in public places (a friend was cautioned a while back for taking a photo with his mobile of a security notice in a London railway station). The article ran through most of the recent examples of global acts of terror asking whether or not photographs were used as intelligence. In each given case the answer was clearly no. Uncovered evidence hasn’t included any images of the targets at all. The only place, it continued, where photography plays an important role in terrorist activities, is in the movies where some kind of plot device is needed to make the beginning of the film interesting. Real life lacks plot devices. Those who imagine we are out there amassing intelligence on them are often enough amassing intelligence on us via their surveillance systems.

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