There is a program airing tonight on PBS that “explores the growing reach of homeland security, fusion centers, battlefield technologies, and data collecting into the lives of ordinary Americans.” I heard a few snippets this afternoon regarding people who have been put on terrorist watch lists because they took pictures of a ferry, or a bridge, or a landmark building. Why we may think to ourselves, this is crazy, or there is something missing in these stories, in truth this really does happen more often then we think.
The photo above got me put onto a terrorist watch list in New York City in 2004. I love exploring, especially roads that seem less traveled. I ended up down a side road in Staten Island and came across some very large power structures. The clouds that day were beautiful and the juxtaposition of the elements really stood out to me. I snapped a few pictures and we on my way. The next day my father called me and gave me the phone number to a NYPD officer that had called him inquiring about suspicious activity linked to my car. Long story short I had to provide written referrals from my current employer, 3 phone interviews, and provide them of copies of all photos taken that day. I was informed that I was no longer under investigation. I understand that “we can’t take chances” but I also wonder about the lengths we go through to protect America. I look forward to watching this frontline program tonight.