Citizen informer corps
A citizen informer corps is any group of citizens, formal or informal, recruited by the government for the purpose of informing the government of certain types of activities by their fellow citizens. The phrase "suspicious activities" is often used as a catch-all category which the government can then refine as needed for targeting specific groups or individuals.
Such a corps can also be used for other questionable tasks, as its members will lack either training or a tradition of service to inform them of their proper role or of which received orders might be inappropriate, unethical, or even illegal. Obvious uses include dissemination of propaganda, persuading others to go along with government orders (whether legal or not), or even the use of force.
Possibly a better term might be "neophyte corps", as the basic idea seems to be the recruitment of well-meaning individuals to perform duties whose ethicality they lack the experience or background to evaluate; this would allow the inclusion of such endeavors as the Hitler Youth.
- Clergy response teams, according to the one source describing them, skip the "informer" role and go straight to the propaganda and persuasion, but it's not clear if they were more than a rumor.
- 2008-06-28 [Talk|Index] Terror watch uses local eyes 181 TRAINED IN COLO. § “Hundreds of police, firefighters, paramedics and even utility workers have been trained and recently dispatched as "Terrorism Liaison Officers" in Colorado and a handful of other states to hunt for "suspicious activity" â€” and are reporting their findings into secret government databases. .. It's a tactic intended to feed better data into terrorism early-warning systems and uncover intelligence that could help fight anti-U.S. forces. But the vague nature of the TLOs' mission, and their focus on reporting both legal and illegal activity, has generated objections from privacy advocates and civil libertarians. .. "Suspicious activity" is broadly defined in TLO training as behavior that could lead to terrorism: taking photos of no apparent aesthetic value, making measurements or notes, espousing extremist beliefs or conversing in code, according to a draft Department of Justice/Major Cities Chiefs Association document.” (emphasis added)