Stopping HighTech Terrorists

dcInternet technologies have become key tools for extremist groups and terrorists looking to advance their cause. A recent U.S. Army intelligence report warned of terrorists using social networking tools like Twitter to communicate anonymously with cell members, and to detonate roadside bombs. A security report released this week pointed out that extremist groups in Southeast Asia are relying on social networks to radicalize the youth of the region. Al-qaeda, the southeast asian militant group Jemaah Islamiah, and other extremist Muslim groups employ professional media units to produce high-quality videos, and photos to publish along with recruiting messages in Web pages, on social networks, and in blogs. The number of radical and extremist websites accessible in southeast asia have increased by 600 percent over the last year, during a time when much of the population is accessing the Internet for the first time.

At least one US politician is working to thwart the use of technology by terrorists through the use of censorship. Californian Assemblyman, Joel Anderson, has put forth a bill that would force Google and other online mapping companies to blur satellite and street view images of locations deemed vulnerable to terrorist attacks. His list includes millions of locations such as schools, places of worship, government and medical buildings. Anderson told the Associated press that all he is trying to do is stop terrorists. “I do not want California to be helping map out future targets for terrorists” Andseron said.

Andserson’s bill has been criticized by many. Security expert Bruce Schneier had this to say about the bill: “While terrorism turns society’s very infrastructure against itself, we only harm ourselves by dismantling that infrastructure in response, just as we would if we banned cars because bank robbers use them.”

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