Friday, June 15, 2012

A costly tweet.

In the second world war, British Government kept hammering the British people, with a slogan, that said " Loose Lips Sink Ships." This slogan really cautioned people not to indulge in loose talk as enemy spies were everywhere and there was a real risk that they might get some vital clues, which would cost Britain very heavily. Most of the readers would think that such kind of slogan might be O.K. during war times, but it is of no concern now, after so many years have passed. Well! its true that nonsensical loose talk is of no consequence now to the states, but if you are indulging into such blabber and chatter on the social media of internet like Twitter or Facebook, and you mention a thing or two about USA, you might be heading for big trouble. Just like the war time British Government, American Government would start looking at your tweets and walls with great suspicion and you are likely to face big trouble in future.

In the beginning of this year (2012), an Irish guy, Leigh Van Bryan, tweeted to his friend which had said " @Melissax Walton free this week for a quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America?" According to him the words “destroy America?", from this tweet, meant in British slang " have a party." Unfortunately for Bryan, the sleuths of the Department of Homeland security, US Government, have taken the meaning literally or word by word and he later found himself in hot water.
When this guy and his friend, landed at the 'Los Angeles International Airport' they were straight way taken into the police custody. They were questioned in all seriousness, for 12 hours about their motives and intentions in coming to US. Bryan had sometime earlier had made another casual tweet, saying "digging up Marilyn Monroe." He was even questioned about that . After the police investigation was over, Bryan and his friend were straight way taken to an aircraft and deported back to England.

The Bryan episode has highlighted number of facts, which are of great relevance for all users of internet social media like facebook or twitter. Firstly American police and other intelligence gathering departments of US and possibly of other Governments too, continue to keep a close watch on the messages that are exchanged on the social media, from the angle of country's security. Secondly most of the sleuths engaged in this operation perhaps look at these messages in a blinkered kind of way and are not in a position to appreciate the puns or slang phrases used by many people. They are obviously not able, may be due to their military training or background, to understand the real meaning of such nonsensical blabber, exchanged on internet, even though all the Governments involved in such search operations, are spending huge amounts of cash to look for intelligence from this utterly nonsensical chatter. The US Government has already announced publicly that it would be searching the messages exchanged on the internet to find out some specific information about some persons marked by them, who have a significance from the security angle. However it can be said from the Bryan episode, that if this effort is to made along these lines, the basic aim many not be achieved at all.

This Bryan episode is also a warning bell for individuals who use internet social media for such nonsensical chatter. They perhaps do not realize that their messages on social media, which they may be considering as light humour, actually can inadvertently put them in hot water. They may think that their messages are just fun, but the sleuths, who may be checking, may attach a completely different meaning and a far greater significance to their tweets and messages and as a result these tweeters and facebook users may have to face the music for no reason at all.

15 June 2012

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