Twitter Joke Leads to Airport Ban

by Emily DUNBAR on January 21, 2010

The recent attempted terrorist attacks on airplanes have once again forced airlines to take a look at their security measures.  A young Nigerian man, who was on both the U.S. and U.K. terrorist watch lists, was able to sneak an explosive device through two airports in an attempt to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight that was heading to Detroit.  Although the man was unsuccessful his actions reminded airports that they must stay constantly vigilant if they are to prevent future attacks.  Since this event there have been several arrests of people, who although innocent of terrorism, are not innocent of stupidity.  Three men in an airplane at Heathrow Airport were arrested after making jokes to cabin crew about blowing up the plane, and recently a British man was taken into custody after making jokes on Twitter.

In the climate of terrorism every threat must be taken seriously, which is what led to a UK man being arrested after blowing off some steam on his Twitter account.  Paul Chambers was stranded at the Robin Hood Airport during a snowstorm and decided to pass the time by trying to entertain his followers on Twitter.  He made a joke about blowing the airport up if it didn’t reopen in a timely fashion.  Although Chambers claims the whole thing was just a joke, British police didn’t find it so funny and arrested him under the Terrorism Act.  Chambers was then held and questioned for seven hours before being released.   Chambers has been banned from the airport for life.

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