Scary: Police State Comes to Walmart via DHS Videos

DHS has a new Orwellian approach to turn shoppers into informants. Walmart walls may not have ears, but they now have eyes of citizen spies waiting to inform DHS of suspicious shoppers aka terrorists.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced an expansion of the "If You See Something, Say Something" program with DHS video messages in 27 states inside 588 Walmart stores equipped with checkout video screens. "This partnership will help millions of shoppers across the nation identify and report indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats to law enforcement authorities," said Secretary Napolitano.

Sorry but I call BS on that claim. The DHS video posted at the bottom of this article does not even try to define what might be "suspicious" activity, but certainly encourages people to report it anyway. Oh, and if you see that unknown suspicious activity, report it to a Walmart employee who will not receive any special training for this program. Walmart spokesperson Dan Fogelman told MSNBC, "Walmart is a place where people gather in many towns, it is where neighbors might see each other the most."

Exactly, it's where neighbors can best spy on neighbors. Perhaps you don't look someone in the eye, or you are not your usually friendly self, might that make some citizen decide you are "suspicious"? There are people who would turn someone in simply because they don't like them, or don't like they way they dress or conform or...the list could go on and on. How sad and actually scary, that a trip to Walmart could land an innocent person in a report and possibly onto a watchlist.

Surely this video campaign is meant to be scary as in propaganda promoting fear and distrust? Did you think you could do your shopping without worrying about terrorists? Well just in case your mind was at ease, here comes DHS invading Walmart and turning average American shoppers into citizen spies. I can hardly keep up with the changes, but I guess we are supposed to forget about the director of counterterrorism's advise to stop freaking out and talking about terrorism. Do these government agencies talk to each and exchange information? I worry less about terrorists shopping at Walmart than about citizen informants for the government while Americans are busy buying groceries and toilet paper. Pay in cash? Bulk cash smuggling is a crime at bus stations where VIPER patrols, so will paying for that big ticket item with cash make you suspicious to another Walmart shopper?

It sort of reminds me of Hitler and Germany. According to Wikipedia, "80% of all Gestapo investigations were started in response to information provided by denunciations by 'ordinary' Germans." Could "See Something, Say Something" at Walmart eventually make up 80% of Americans on watchlists due to average Joe Wally-World shoppers turned informants? What if the slogan on your t-shirt is too offensive or political in your neighbor's opinion? Who knows? People can be petty or enjoy the attention they receive while filing a report.

The Walmart surveillance society is also insulting to Americans' intelligence. We don't want terrorists running around and hatching evil plots in our country. Does DHS think we are so stupid that we wouldn't warn authorities if we suspected a person or group of being involved with terrorism?

Asking untrained people to spy on each other could lead to a police state where you are guilty until proven innocent. There is no definition of what "suspicious" activity is, so that leaves it to personal prejudice and paranoia, jealousy, spite, who knows? What's next? Big screen announcements at schools, aimed at school-age kids? "Has dad or mom ever said anything anti-government? That's suspicious so report them!?"

Are the installations and invasion of DHS into Walmart some sort of tests to see how much the average American will put up with? Will the next generation of Walmart greeters be trained to TSA-style grope grannie? Think outside the box or be trapped in it..."During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act," wrote George Orwell.

DHS said this program has also partnered with the Mall of America, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, Amtrak, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, sports and general aviation industries, and other organizations across the country.

There may be plenty of oddballs hanging out to shop at Walmart, but terrorists? Seriously?

On YouTube, the video has 142 "likes" and 3,321 "dislikes" as well as many growling comments. There seem to be many people who do not want America to turn into a police state.

Like this? Check out these other posts:

Follow me on Twitter @PrivacyFanatic

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

The 10 most powerful cybersecurity companies