Thursday, March 17, 2005

Canadian bloggers as entrepreneurs could be terrorists, you know...

The U.S.-Canadian border is secure. Checkpoints dotting the landscape are chock-full of savvy department of homeland security (DHS) agents who keep current with the news. On the cutting edge of knowledge, these DHS agents have heard of blogging and know all about certain things such as Web sites.


Yesterday, CBS MarketWatch reported just the story to make us think twice:

Blogger's tempest in Toronto

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- U.S. immigration authorities reportedly blocked a Canadian Web logger's efforts to travel to New York City to begin a six-week consulting assignment with a company about incorporating blogs into its business.

Jeremy Wright said he was halted at Toronto Pearson International Airport before dawn Wednesday and then searched, questioned for three hours and prevented from his taking his flight.

In a telephone interview, Wright recounted his experience: "The guy kept saying, 'What do you do for a living?' I said I'm a blog consultant. He said, 'What's blogging?' But he didn't have any context for what a Web site was. His response was, 'You can't make a living from blogging. Stop lying and tell me why you're really here.'"

Can blogging bring home the bacon? No. Just ask border patrol, whose squadrons are hard at work protecting us from the Canadian evildoers. Wright is a grave threat to national security, and I thank my lucky stars DHS was able to stop him in his tracks before it was too late.

When asked about the incident, the U.S. Homeland Security Department's office in Toronto replied, "no comment." The U.S. Consulate in Toronto did not respond to an inquiry within two hours.

Talk about profiling. Let's interrogate all those suspicious Canuks, shall we? It looks like the long arm of embarrassment has caught up with the long arm of the law, which has managed to ruin at least one promising business contract start for a promising entrepreneur:

Wright is the co-founder of InsideBlogging, a consulting firm, and the author of, a Web log about business and technology. He is also working on a book for McGraw-Hill on blogs in business.

"I would agree that blogging may not be a familiar concept to a border guard, but just because he doesn't know what it is doesn't means I can't make a living at it," Wright said. As for the six-week assignment that was drawing him to the states, he's recommended a friend for the job.

Hey, DHS. How about letting Wright into the country after all? It'll be good for the economy.