Gold'en Rant : How a T-Shirt can land you in Parisian Jail

So there I am, soaking up the Parisian sunshine in the park, on holiday last week, taking advantage of one of the many free WiFi networks available across the French capital, when up strolls a member of the Gendarmerie.

Not just any French police officer either. This one was an anti-terrorist copper, armed to the teeth and wearing what appeared to be riot gear. Had I accidentally logged on to a government WiFi access point when I shouldn't?

No, the officer pointed to my well-worn 2600 - Hackers Across Corporate America T-shirt and told me, in no uncertain terms, that wearing the shirt was a public order offence.

Hmm, maybe I should have worn my Blue Box t-shirt instead, but - tsk - I hadn't brought it with me to France.

So I did the dutiful thing and trotted back to the flat and swapped attire. I then checked with a French journalist pal who confirmed that, yes, wearing subversive clothing in France is an offence.

Surprisingly, the offence has nothing to do with hackers and computer misuse, but stems from new legislation designed to prevent the promotion of terrorism.

Whilst I'm all for the prevention of another 9/11 and 7/7 attack, I'm more than a little annoyed that my wearing of a t-shirt should be considered an arrestable offence in France.

Arrestable? Oh yes, the French police officer gave me a full-blown caution and said that, if it weren't for the fact I was a Roast Beef - sorry, Brit - he would have arrested me.

So here's an angry red-faced rant against the French government for passing really stupid laws that prevent the wearing of humorous t- shirts, but don't stop its own intelligence services (and I use that term rather loosely) from sinking the Rainbow Warrior back in 1985. We now return you to your usual programming...