Picture this for me if you will.

You’re standing in your mechanic’s shop, your car jacked up into the air as it gets its oil changed. The smell of grease-monkey and subtle noises of the equipment making you nearly catatonic with boredom. Your gaze sweeps idly across the body of your car in a vain attempt to retain consciousness when you spot something odd.

Is that a wire sticking out of your wheel well? That’s odd, why would a wire be sticking out of your wheel well. There’s nothing wirey requiring in that region is there? You wander over to the back wheel of your car and reach up and inside. After feeling around for a moment you pull out a magnetically attached small black box & tube.


To be fair, my first guess would have been faulty remote detonated pipe bomb.

Seems like the beginning of a government thriller or X-Files-esque movie plot right? Once again, life (or more accurately the US Government) chooses to mimic fiction.

After discovering this strange looking device secretly attached to his car, young Arab-American and Californian Yasir Afifi, posted pictures of this device to the internet and the wild speculations began. Though most people that commented agreed it seemed quite a bit like an older model FBI tracking device (c0nfirmed by an ex-FBI agent later on).

Was it real? Did someone get their hands on it aftermarket? Or was the FBI actually tracking Mr. Afifi? 48 hours after locating and removing the device he sure found out. The FBI intercepted him and took their tracking device back.

So why were the FBI tracking Mr. Afifi? Is he a foreign national living in the US with ties to foreign powers? A potential terrorist cell leader? Seems unlikely. Yasir Afifi is a citizen of the US; born and raised for the 20 years of his life. Though according to this Wired article, the FBI seems to have been investigating and tracking Mr. Afifi for 3 to 6 months before he discovered the device.

Comments made by the agents involved to Mr. Afifi seem to indicate that the investigation was initiated because of some comments one of his close friends Khaled made on a website. Maybe racial profiling, maybe not. Hard call. But the potential to be in a similar situation exists for every American citizen. Seriously.

The US Circuit Court of appeals recently ruled that it is ok for law enforcement to wire your car without needing so much as a warrant. Good Gods, seriously? Police State much?

If you’re like me, a Canadian citizen or a citizen of another country outside the US, this should still be fairly alarming to you. Many other countries look at what the US is doing, and consider how effective that would be in their own country. And it’s even worse for us, because we have an idiot/US puppet as our Prime Minister in the form of the glorious Stephen Harper.

Regardless of whether or not Yasir was targeted by the FBI based on actual evidence or just because of his family’s racial background and ties, this should not be overlooked by anyone. The potential for abuse in this current situation is disturbingly overwhelming.

But our story does have a hero. Or at least a potential hero. Brian Alseth of the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington heard about Yasir’s story much like we are. He saw Yasir and Khaled’s pictures of the device online and took action.

"This is the kind of thing we like to throw lawyers at," Alseth was quoted saying by Afifi. And with good reason. If no warrant is required to place these devices, the good ol’ boys club at the FBI could easily abuse them for selfish or personal reasons, or even personal gain.

Your stocks tanking? You think the CEO of a rival company maybe cheating on his wife, or doing something else embarrassing? No problem! Install ye olde tracking device in his car and send a private eye with a camera to follow the GPS. Admittedly this is a minor example so to speak, but I hope you get the general idea.

Wired.com reports that Afifi’s FBI adventure ended with the agents telling him that he should not worry about any of it.

"We have all the information we needed," they told him. "You don’t need to call your lawyer. Don’t worry, you’re boring. "

Yea, sure. Easy for you to say jerks. You aren’t the ones finding a tracking device on your car.