Friday, February 02, 2007

More comments on Boston lite brite fiasco

Bruce Schneier has commented on the Aqua Teen Hunger Force nonsense in Boston:

Now the police look stupid, but they're trying really not hard not to act humiliated:

Governor Deval Patrick told the Associated Press: "It's a hoax -- and it's not funny."

Unfortunately, it is funny. What isn't funny is now the Boston government is trying to prosecute the artist and the network instead of owning up to their own stupidity. The police now claim that they were "hoax" explosive devices. I don't think you can claim they are hoax explosive devices unless they were intended to look like explosive devices, which merely a cursory look at any of them shows that they weren't.

But it's much easier to blame others than to admit that you were wrong:

"It is outrageous, in a post 9/11 world, that a company would use this type of marketing scheme," Mayor Thomas Menino said. "I am prepared to take any and all legal action against Turner Broadcasting and its affiliates for any and all expenses incurred."


Rep. Ed Markey, a Boston-area congressman, said, "Whoever thought this up needs to find another job."

"Scaring an entire region, tying up the T and major roadways, and forcing first responders to spend 12 hours chasing down trinkets instead of terrorists is marketing run amok," Markey, a Democrat, said in a written statement. "It would be hard to dream up a more appalling publicity stunt."


"It had a very sinister appearance," [Massachusetts Attorney General Martha] Coakley told reporters. "It had a battery behind it, and wires."

For heavens sake, don't let her inside a Radio Shack.

And so has Tim Lee at the Technology Liberation Front:

Oh my God! Wires! And a battery! My question is: doesn't the city of Boston have any bomb experts on staff? I mean, it's not crazy for a layman to see an unidentified electronic device and imagine it could be a bomb. But wouldn't the first step be to call in a bomb squad to examine the device? And wouldn't it be obvious to anyone that knew anything about electronics that it's highly unlikely that a terrorist would put dozens of gratuitous LEDs on the front of a bomb?

Terrorism is a serious problem, and we should take prudent steps to to deal with it. But we also have to remember that terrorists' goal is to produce terror and get attention. When we're this panicky, we do the terrorists' job for them. Yesterday Osama bin Laden succeeded in snarling traffic and producing an avalanche of news coverage without lifting a finger.


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