Twitter "terrorist" taken to task

Paul Chambers, a Brit twit, is ruing the day he posted a joke bomb threat to his Twitter followers. He was summarily arrested as an alleged terrorist, suspended from his job, and banned from Doncaster's Robin Hood Airport. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers steal from the poor to give to the rich.

By Richi Jennings. January 19, 2010.

Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention teleporting goats...

    Ally Millar says hello:

A Twitter user was arrested under the Terrorism Act when an ill-advised post declared he would blow an airport “sky high” if his flight was delayed. ... A fellow Twitterer who wasn’t amused by the statement alerted the police.


His arrest on the grounds of suspicion to create a bomb hoax saw him questioned by police for seven hours. ... Mr Chambers is believed to be the first person in the UK arrested for comments on Twitter. ... He has been released on bail until February 11 pending further investigation: his iPhone, laptop and home computer have been confiscated.

Peter Judge offers the twetails:

When Paul Chambers found that heavy snow had closed the airport, preventing him from flying to Ireland, he vented his frustration with a Twitter joke: "Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your **** together, otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!!"


Governments are wary of use of the Internet by terrorists, but are often accused of over-reacting and misinterpreting threats. Hacker Gary McKinnon is currently appealing over extradition to the United States over accusations that he illegally accessed NASA and military computers.

David Neal calls him a "Twidiot":

Apparently having been in a coma or a cave for the last ten years, ... Chambers, 26, decided to post a bomb threat at a UK airport as a joke last week. ... Things started to get a bit surreal for him during the interview process. "Mr Chambers said the police seemed unable to comprehend the intended humour in his online comment. 'I had to explain Twitter to them in its entirety because they'd never heard of it,' he said."


We do not know how many chuckles his ill-considered tweet caused, but we do know one thing. Chambers will not be flying anywhere anytime soon.

Davey Winder has little sympathy, either:

Terrorism isn't funny, and that's official. Making jokes about bombs while on an airplane is probably not the best way to express your sense of humour. ... One poor *** discovered that even Twitter is not safe from the lack of humour police. While nobody wants YouTube bomb making videos left unchecked, you might expect an obviously tongue-in-cheek Twitter rant to escape unharmed. Think again.


So there you have it, the thought police are apparently reading your Twitter posts and don't have a sense of humour or, for that matter, perspective. It's a good job I stopped myself from Tweeting a joke with the punchline of 'does my bomb look big in this' then...

And crippler dons the tinfoil hat:

The world at this point in time is at a state of war [yes it is whether to accept it or not]. The winners here are the terrorist who have messed up our minds and lives so much that the Governments are actively monitoring what we do, without our knowledge. It is more like what we see in the movies [Echelon Conspiracy, Eagle Eye, Enemy of the State]. The technology is so sophisticated that each and every word we write on the Internet, SMS or anywhere on the electronic media is recorded and keywords are monitored.

  People are talking about freedom of speech and let me tell you, actually there is none. No matter how much of an innocent you are, a tweet like what Paul did is bound to get you in trouble. ... One thing is for sure… “They are watching you!”

But Dave Parrack has some sympathy:

The whole of the U.K. spent the [two weeks] after New Year covered in ice and snow, which caused massive transport problems. On Jan. 6, Paul Chambers started worrying that his plans to fly to Ireland on the 15th would be affected by his local airport in Doncaster being closed.


Personally, I think this was complete overkill. And just in case anyone in authority is reading this, no, that doesn’t mean I’m going to kill anyone. Better to be safe than sorry.

So what's your take?
Get involved: leave a comment.

And finally...

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him as @richi on Twitter, or richij on FriendFeed, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email:

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