Think different but not too different

Although “think different” was Apple’s advertising slogan for many years, it seems some Apple Stores have their own ideas about what should constitute the limits of acceptable thought. British blogger Yusuf Smith describes what happened to him after checking his blog comments at a local Apple Store:

Kingston has an Apple Store, which like other such shops, has a room full of Macs which offer free internet access. When I’m near an Apple Store, I always go in to check my email and my blog, so as to approve any legitimate comments and delete any spam. Others go in for similar email-related purposes and to engage in long chats over various chat systems in various languages. The staff must know me: I go in there often, visit the same websites, stay about 15 minutes (less than I do in Regent Street, because Kingston is near my home and I’ve no need to stay an hour) and go.

Today, as I was closing up (and leaving my blog open, to drum up a bit of publicity), two policemen came up to me and asked me if I’d come out for a chat. They told me that someone had raised concerns about me, that they were there for anti-terrorism purposes, that there was concern about people accessing extremist websites which they were sure I could understand in the current climate. They asked for ID, which I duly provided, and asked me if they knew me, to which I replied that they might, as a few years ago I had complained (to the local MP, who I believe also raised it with the local Safer Neighbourhood scheme) about idiots on mopeds using a nearby subway as a cut-through and about youths loitering in there which does not really give much of a sense of assurance. We had a bit of a talk about what I do on my website, what a blog is (he had never heard of them) and the fact that I used their machines to approve legitimate comments, so as not to hold up discussion, and get rid of spam. The other cop talked to his colleagues over his radio and gathered that I was not under any suspicion, and eventually I was let go.


#1 Antish on 07.09.07 at 1:40 pm

Sounds to me like an example of extraordinarily good policing.

#2 James on 07.10.07 at 1:07 pm

Could be lots worse, the NSA could be tapping his phones, the FBI could opening his mails, he could be rendered to a secret CIA prison and disappeared for years. Here he has a nice little chat up with a police officer. He wasn’t under suspicion and let got. No harm no foul.

#3 Baybers on 07.10.07 at 9:03 pm

both of those comments are true, and yet we have a situation where one section of society has taken it upon itself to spy and snitch on another.

secondly it seems to be accepted that a policeman can ask one for ones papers/id at any time.

third, the great and the good here seem to rely only the good graces on individual police officers to carefully use such powers.

fourth, what evidence is there that the intrusion of the state into ones personal affairs prevents terrorist attacks? clearly it does not.

#4 Antish on 07.11.07 at 12:47 am

Depends on whose ‘personal affairs’ you are talking about. The Brits with all the fertilizer had their ‘personal affairs’ pried into, thank God. but regardless, if you read the guy’s blog story in full (it has been edited on Astrolabe, although Astrolabe doesn’t tell you this) you’ll see that the Apple staff propbably thought he was a rude git and took it from there.

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