Friday, March 11, 2016

76% of "terrorism" complaints are spam

For years the SIS has run a public freephone to allow the public to report "information of security concern". As the world has gone online, they've backed this up with an Orwellian-titled "Public Contribution Form", allowing people to anonymously denounce their friends and neighbours to the secret police. So how effective are these mechanisms? Someone used FYI, the public OIA service, to ask. The response? 76% of online submissions are spam or frivolous. Of 370 online submissions:

  • 281 (76%) were spam or frivolous;
  • 70 (19%) were "determined to be of security interest";
  • 19 (5%) were not spam but "did not meet the threshold for our definition of 'security interest'".
Surprisingly, there are no corresponding statistics on the phone hotline, despite it receiving 2602 calls last year. Unfortunately they didn't ask how much these respective denouncement tools cost, and gaining information on how much of it was really of security interest (as opposed to of interest to a compulsive paranoid with a budget to justify) or led to investigations, let alone arrests and prosecutions, would be impossible.