A few weeks ago Glenn Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, was detained at London Heathrow airport under schedule 7 of the UK’s 2000 Terrorism Act.

London’s Metropolitan police used the following justification for invoking terrorism laws to detain him:

“We assess that Miranda is knowingly carrying material, the release of which would endanger people’s lives. Additionally the disclosure or threat of disclosure is designed to influence a government, and is made for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause. This therefore falls within the definition of terrorism and as such we request that the subject is examined under schedule 7.”

So a quick guide to being a “terrorist”:

  1. Find a document that mentions someone by name, and might cause people to dislike that person if it were released publicly.

  2. Consider disclosing that document for the purpose of promoting a political cause.

It’s a terrifying example of a government redefining a word to maximize its own power to detain people.

Compare this with NSA Director Keith Alexander’s recent comments about PRISM data collection:

We go through a court order. We issue that court order to them through the FBI. And it’s not millions. It’s thousands of those that are done, and it’s almost all against terrorism and other things like that. It has nothing to do with U.S. persons.

As we know now, PRISM’s just the start.