The Internet and Terrorism
One of the greatest discoveries in modern times has also turned out to be humanities worst threat. The internet, with its great virtues, has been transformed into a tool of terror for those groups of individuals committed to instigate utmost fright upon the hearts of men. The internet’s ease of access, enormity of the audience, absence of regulation and the remarkable speed which characterizes the flow of information among many other virtues, has been transformed by some terror groups into a tool through which they can further their evil deeds. Presently, it is estimated that almost all of the active terrorist groups uses the internet to carry out their operations. As such, they have established their presence in one of the most widely used information access and transfer technology, the internet. There are numerous websites that today serve terrorists land their supporters. As a phenomenon, internet terrorism is very dynamic. This is evidenced by the sudden emergence of websites, the frequency of format modification and the speed at which they suddenly disappear. In most of the cases, they alter their online addresses but retain much of the contents. The terrorists, through the websites, target three audiences: individuals and groups who currently support their course and potential supporters, public and international opinion and the enemy public (Arquilla et al, 2001).
Insufficient attention has been focused by security agencies, policy makers and the mass media on the actual uses of the internet by terrorist organizations and instead, they have focused on cyber terrorism threat which is exceedingly exaggerated. The uses of the internet by the terrorists are numerous and invaluable from the perspective of the terrorists themselves. The contemporary terrorists use the internet in different ways. These ranges from psychological warfare, spreading of propaganda, mining of data, coordination of operations, recruitment and raising of funds. As much as it is the responsibility of every faction of the society to defend the society against cyber terrorism, there is also need to consider the consequences of applying such measures to the use of the internet. Such measures may infringe upon such vital individual rights as the freedom of expression. Other dictatorial regimes may also use such measures as an excuse to violate individual privacy and suppress free flow of information.
The issue of the presence of terrorists in the cyberspace is a new phenomenon that has just begun to be told. Under the United States Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, some organizations totaling thirty were designated as “Foreign Terrorist Organizations”. In 1998, almost half of these organizations maintained websites and by the year two thousand, almost all of these organizations labeled terrorist organization had established themselves in the internet. A scan of the internet in the year two thousand and three and two thousand and four discovered that terrorists and their supporters were being served by more than a hundred websites (Cisneros, 2001). Despite this revelation on the presence of terrorists in the internet, journalists, academicians and policymakers in their discussion of terrorism and the internet have only focused on the exaggerated threat that is posed by cyber warfare or cyber terrorism, in the process overlooking the actual uses that terrorists make of the internet.
In this paper, my main focus is these other activities that the terrorists have made of the internet. I will identify, analyze and describe ways that the terrorist organizations have manipulated the internet’s unique attributes to reign terror on the minds and souls of individuals and societies. Much of the material that I have used for this purpose is derived from an ongoing study of terrorism which is in its seventh year, a duration that has seen terrorist organizations increasingly asserting their presence in the World Wide Web. As has been discovered, internet terrorism is a dynamic phenomenon that emerges suddenly, modify their format and disappear as suddenly as they emerged. In most of the cases, they disappear by altering their online addresses but maintaining much of the same content.
This paper begins by tracing the origins of the internet, the internet’s attributes that makes it appealing to political extremists, the assortment of terrorist groups that are active in cyberspace and the audience that they target. The central theme of this paper is how terrorist have used the internet to further their purposes. These varies from carrying out psychological warfare to collecting information, raising of funds to training, recruitment to propagandizing, networking to planning, and finally, the coordination of terrorist activities and acts. For each case, substantial examples are derived from research on the topic, media reports and intelligence reports. The bulk of this paper argues for the diversion of attention to how terrorists use the internet to threaten the well being of individuals in the society, with reference to the 9/11 attacks, but at the same time appealing for the societies not to overreact to the issue. As much as the internet is attractive to political extremists, it is also a symbol of freedom-especially the freedom of thought and expression-which distances democratic government with their enemies. As such, restriction of internet access may not be an effective strategy for counterterrorism campaign.
The internet and modern terrorism
It becomes a paradox that the decentralized network of communication that was created by the United States security services to counter the threats by the Soviet Union has come to serve its worst enemy since the Cold War ended: international terrorists. International terrorism has come to be the worst threat to Western nations’ security services, to a greater extent made possible by the advent of the internet. The modern internet can be traced back during the era of Cold War in the early nineteen seventies when there was a growing concern within the Unites States Department of Defense about the susceptibility of its communication networks to nuclear attack. In order to reduce this vulnerability, the Defense Department opted for the decentralization of the entire system. This was done through the creation of an integrated web of computer networks (Guelke, 1996).
The character of the internet changed and expanded after a development that took twenty years, mainly through the use by academic researchers. Its expansion and change of character is mainly attributed to the fact that it became open to commercial users in the final years of the nineteen eighties. A few years after it was open to commercial users, in the mid nineteen nineties, more than eighteen thousand national, public and private networks were connected by the internet. This number increased by the day. More than three million host computers were hooked into these networks with as many as sixty million users distributed across the globe in all the seven continents. The number of users in the first few years of the twenty first century was estimated at over one billion (Eedle, 2002).
As it became popular, the internet was viewed as an important medium of communication, integrating different cultures, consumers, businesses and governments. It provided for an unrivaled opportunity for the establishment of a forum upon which the entire human race could converge and share ideas thereby motivating and sustaining global democracy. However, with the insurmountable growth in the network’s size and use, the original visions of internet’s promises were compromised with the introduction of violent and pornographic content on the web and especially with the use of the internet by diverse extremist organizations. Various organizations with varying political goals but brought together by their readiness to employ terrorist methods in meeting their goals begun to use the network for spreading their propaganda, communicating with their supporters, sparking public awareness of their goals, fostering sympathy and executing their operations.
By its very nature, the internet is a tool for carrying out terrorist activities because of its easy accessibility. It also has limited regulations, censorship or any form of control by the government. Beyond this, the internet has a wide array of audience spread across the globe. Any posted information flows very fast and it also offers communication anonymity. The development and maintenance of presence within the network is not expensive. The internet also provides a multimedia environment where texts, video, audio and graphics can be combined. The internet is also used as a source for stories owing to its ability in shaping coverage in the traditional mass media.
Terrorist’s Website Overview
Terrorist organizations have not been blind to these advantages of the internet regardless of their political orientation. All terrorist organizations, be it Marxists, Islamists, racists, anarchists, separatists or nationalists have found the internet irresistible. Currently, all active terrorist organizations which could be more than forty possess websites. Many of these terrorist organizations maintain quite a number of websites and use different languages. These terrorist organizations and groups emanate from all corners of the earth. Within the Middle East, there is the Islamic Resistance Movement, commonly known as the Hamas, the Hezbollah, Fattah Tanzim, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, among others. In Europe, there are the Corsican Army, the Basque ETA Movement and the Irish Republican Army. In Latin America, there are the Columbian National Liberation Army, Tupak-Amaru, Shining Path and the armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia. Finally in Asia, there is al Qaeda, Ansar al Islam, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the Japanese Red Army, Aum Shinrikyo, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the rebel movement in Chechnya among others (Garrison et al, 2001).
Content of terrorist sites
Among the details contained in the sites are the history of the organization and its operations, political and social background review, ideological and political aims, an account of the biographies of its founders and leaders, notable exploits, criticism of the enemies and current news. However, the content of separatists and nationalists sites contain the areas that they consider are of disputes. For instance, there is a map of Palestine in the site of the Hamas, map of Colombia in the FARC’s site and Sri Lanka’s map in the site of LTTE, et cetera. However, most of the sites do not contain a description of their violent operations despite their use of such words like “resistance” and “violent struggle”. Most of these sites avoid referring to their violent actions or the dire consequences as much as they offer details on the legal and moral justification of their employment of violence. This is mainly due to the fact that they aspire to build their images. The Hamas, al Qaeda and Hezbollah are the exceptions as they offer statistical updates on their daily operations. These terrorist websites are aimed at three different audiences, the current and potential supporters, international public opinion and enemy publics (Gearty, 1998).
The Use of the Internet by Terrorists
There are eight different ways that the modern terrorists use the internet. These ways sometimes overlap. Some of these ways parallel the uses that the normal population puts to the use of the internet such as gathering of information. Some of these uses by terrorists also resemble those that the medium has been employed by political organizations like fund raising and spreading of propaganda. However, some of these uses are unique to these terrorist organizations such as hiding of instructions, directions and manuals in coded messages.
Terrorism is often seen as a form of psychological warfare and such campaigns have been carried out through the use of the internet. There are numerous ways through which terrorists can use the internet to carry out such campaigns. For example, they have often used the internet to spread faulty information such as the alleged brutal murder of Daniel Pearl, an American journalist. The video was replayed on various terrorist websites. They also wage psychological attacks through the use of cyber terrorism. The terrorists often exaggerate the impact of disrupting the computer system to the extent that the public is made to believe that such attacks are imminent.
Al Qaeda is notable for the psychological warfare it has waged on the United States, combining multimedia propaganda with communication technology that is advanced. The propaganda efforts of al Qaeda are often centered on the internet. Despite the massive blow that al Qaeda has suffered, it still managed to carry out a successful scare campaign. Since the 9/11, the organization has impregnated its websites with successive announcements of coming massive attacks on the United States. These warnings have been displayed in the media thereby spreading a sense of insecurity among the audience especially within the United States and her allies. Al Qaeda has also claimed that its attack on the World Trade Center has damaged the United States economy besides inflicting psychological damage.
The opportunity of terrorists to gain popularity has also been increased by the internet. Before the internet became open to the public, television, print media and the radio were the only ways that terrorists could publicize their activities. However, these traditional media could not be reached by the terrorists owing to selection threshold. However, such threshold does not exist on the websites owned by the terrorists. The terrorists thus have every opportunity to manipulate their image and that of their enemies and hence alter the perception of their target audience through direct control of the content of their messages (Deutch, 1996).
Most terrorists, as noted before, as averse to celebrating their violent activities. Instead, they concentrate and emphasize on two issues. These issues are the fate of their allies who are in most cases political prisoners and the restriction on the freedom of expression. These issues are popular with their supporters besides eliciting sympathy from the western audience who embrace freedom of expression and despise measures placed in killing political opposition. By stressing on the undemocratic nature of measures taken against them, the enemy publics are also targeted as the terrorists elicit a feeling of shame among their enemies by portraying them as enemies of freedom of expression. The internet being especially a symbol of freedom of expression suits the protest of terrorists. The reliance of terrorists on violence is normally justified by the employment of three rhetorical structures.
One of the most famous is the claim that they have no choice but to employ violence in their endeavors. They employ violence as the only way of responding to their enemies whom they portray as oppressive. They normally exaggerate the forceful actions that are taken against them by the governments that are opposed to terrorism while avoiding to mention the violent acts that they do carry out on innocent victims. The sites normally depict terrorist organizations as subject to victimization. A second rhetorical structure that is closely related with the justification of the use of violence is demonization and destigmatization of the enemy. The members of terrorist organizations are normally depicted as freedom fighters who are forced to employ violence for the protection of their rights and dignity for their members (Collin, 1996).
Many of these sites insist that the real enemies are those that they constantly terrorize, in this respect, they ignore the innocent individuals that they kill during their terrorist attacks. The aim of terrorist rhetoric’s is to portray the adversaries as the real enemies, often shifting the responsibility for violence. The third and final rhetoric is to exploit the use of the language of nonviolence to the utmost level so as to counter their violent nature. Even though these organizations are mainly violent organizations, they often attempt to place on their sites such information that creates an impression that they are after a peaceful course.
Another way through which the terrorists make use of the internet is by retrieving information which is easily available from the internet. The internet can be seen as a large and vast digital library. More than a billion pages of information is available from the World Wide Web, ,a large percentage being free. Much of the information available from the internet is of interest to the terrorist organizations. The terrorists can extract much of the information about their targets from the internet. For instance, details about the target’s transportation facilities, counter terrorism measures, buildings among other things can be obtained from the internet. According to Dan Verton, some of the terrorist organizations, most notably al Qaeda, have large databases at their disposal containing every little detail of potential targets in the United States. They use the internet in gathering intelligence on the targets especially the important economic nodes. Their study of structural weaknesses of facilities is made possible by the use of modern software which enables them to predict the consequences of attacking certain systems (Verton, 2003). A training manual belonging to al Qaeda that was recovered in Afghanistan told its readers that they could use the public sources to legally gather more than eighty percent of all the information about the enemy.
A website that is controlled by the Muslim Hackers Club has links to United States sites which claim to contain sensitive information such as radio frequencies and code names, which are used by the United States Secret Service (Verton, 2003).
The United States security agencies believe that Muslim Hackers Club aim to develop software tools which they can use to launch cyber attacks. The same website is responsible for offering instructions on creating and spreading viruses, code development, sabotaging networks and hacking stratagems. It also offers a link to web addresses belonging to militant Islamic and terrorist organizations. Among the targets discussed by websites related to al Qaeda are Atlanta’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention; Federal Reserve’s Fed Wire and most of the internet’s facilities that control the flow of information.
Terrorists also have unlimited access to diagrams, maps and imaging data of probable targets. This may reveal to them counterterrorist activities which are taking place in the places that they have identified as targets. In a captured al Qaeda computer, engineering and structural features of a dam was found. The information was downloaded from the internet and would have enabled their engineers and planners to formulate a way of simulating failures which may lead to serious catastrophes. There is also sufficient evidence from another computer captured by United States investigators that shows that al Qaeda operators spend their time navigating sites that dissipate software and programming instructions. These instructions are for digital switches that run communication, transportation, water and power grids (Kelley, 2002). Such data collections are made possible by numerous tools which include search engines and e-mail distribution lists. Numerous websites have their own search tools that can be used to retrieve any information. There are also various sites that offer information that can be used by terrorists.
The internet is also used by terrorist organizations to raise funds just like numerous other political organizations. For instance, al Qaeda entirely depends on donations. Its global fund raising network is established on a foundation of non governmental organizations, financial institutions and charities that make use of the internet and websites. Most of the terrorist groups use an integrated web of internet sites aimed at asking the supporters to assist in donating money for their course. Banking information is often provided some sites. The terrorists normally do not lack sympathizers and they seem to cooperate with each other using the internet not only to share information but also to collect funds.
The terrorists easily identify their sympathizers by using the internet user demographics. After identifying these individuals, they are normally asked to make contributions through e-mails that are basically sent by front group. As a way of blocking such transactions, the United States authorities have seized and blocked such sites. It has also frozen some of the assets belonging to those organizations. One of such cases involves a Saudi graduate who was charged in January 2004 by Idaho’s federal grand jury for conspiring to help a terrorist organization. This he did by raising funds, locating probable targets and fielding recruits by using the internet. He was accused of establishing websites and e-mail group that dissipated information from him to other subjects who were two radical clerics who were known to be supporters of Jihad. Ironically, he was under a program sponsored by the National Security Agency.
Beside the internet being used to solicit funds from sympathizers, terrorists have also used it for recruitment and mobilization of supporters. The supporters are encouraged to be active in their roles of ensuring that the activities of the organization become successful. They use website technologies to seek converts. They also capture information about the users that normally browse their sites. They make their websites presentable to an extent that it is bound to capture the attention of a web browser. They then contact those users who seem to be interested in the course of the organization and individuals who seem to be suited for roles. Such could have been the method employed to recruit individuals who directed the airlines that hit the World Trade Center. Recruiters also use interactive internet technology to navigate online chat rooms and cybercafés to lure individuals into their organizations. In most cases, they target young individuals. Potential recruits are also reached through the use of user nets and electronic bulletin boards.
The internet is also used by those individuals who aspire to join terrorist organizations. As such they use the internet as a tool for advertising themselves making them to be easily accessible to the organizations. Verton recounts in his book how Ziyad Khalil, a computer science student at Columbia College in Missouri came to be employed by the al Qaeda. He was enrolled at the college in 1995 and became an activist rooting for the rights of Muslims. He developed links with numerous radical groups beside operating a website that supported the Hamas. Owing to his internet activities, he got noted by bin Laden and his followers. He came to be al Qaeda’s procurement officer, organizing and arranging the purchase of electronic surveillance technologies in the United States. He also ensured smooth communication between bin Laden and his officers (Verton, 2003).
However, terrorists prefer looking for potential recruits than waiting for them to make advertisements. Chilling details were provided by SITE Institute on how a recruitment drive that was carried using the internet, was launched to recruit individuals for the purpose of attacking United States and coalition forces in Iraq. The SITE Institute is a terrorism research group in Washington D.C that monitors internet communication of al Qaeda. The likely recruits are convinced trough religious decrees and propaganda with negative image of the United States. They are also given information on how to be terrorists and instructed on how they can make their journey to Iraq. Many terrorist websites however do not directly recruit individuals for violent acts even though they encourage supporters to exude their commitment to their goals in various ways.
Several terrorist groups such as al Qaeda and Hamas have gone through a remarkable transformation with regard to their structural composition. They have changed from hierarchical organizations to affiliation to cells that are semi independent. Before, they had designated leaders, a trend that has changed to one commanding hierarchy. These loosely interconnected groups have been able to maintain contact through the use of the internet. They have also managed to make contact with other terrorist groups. There is likelihood that future terrorists will be organized in a more decentralized way with factions linked by the internet with a horizontal coordination rather than vertical coordination.
There are numerous reasons why the internet is useful for the terrorists in developing and maintaining networks. Among the reasons is that transmission time is reduced greatly thereby enabling the scattered organizational actors to effectively and swiftly communicate and coordinate. The new technology has also reduced communication cost to a greater extent. Through the integration of computing with communication, the complexity and variety of the shared information has been increased. This is evidenced by the manner in which terrorist groups have been able to coordinate their operations within different countries, displayed in the success of their operations.
The internet not only integrates members of similar terrorist groups but also members of divergent groups. For example, numerous sites exist that show their support for acts of terrorism that have been carried out under jihad. These sites not only allow and support terrorist in areas such as Afghanistan, Indonesia, Palestine and other places but also permit the sharing of ideas and information on how to build weapons, establish terror cells and conduct terrorist attacks (Gentile, 2000).
The internet contains a dozen sites that have information on how chemical and explosive weapons can be developed. Many of these sites post manuals that provide detailed information on how a wide range of weapons can be constructed. These instructions on the preparation of bombs are often found in many of the terrorist maintained sites. The official Hamas website contain a manual written in 1996 by Abdel-Aziz entitled, ‘The Mujahadeen Poison’s Handbook’, an article that describes how to prepare homemade deadly materials for use when carrying out terrorist attack. The article is only twenty three pages. A much larger manual prepared by al Qaeda and distributed through the internet provide detailed instructions on how individuals can organize into underground groups and organizations and carry out attacks. All these articles are distributed through the internet. An al Qaeda laptop found in Afghanistan was used to navigate a French site that is being run by the Societe Anonyme. This is a group made up of mainly artists and theoreticians who are involved with working out the correlation between critical thinking and artistic practices. The site provides a two volume material with sections on topics ranging from anti-surveillance techniques to planning an assassination (Di Maio, 2001).
The information provided in such materials are looked for by terrorist organizations and individuals who are prepared to employ terrorist tactics to further their idiosyncratic agendas. The dangers posed by information got from the internet are clearly seen by an event that occurred in London in 1999. A young man called David Copeland placed bombs in three different areas, killing three people and injuring one hundred and thirty nine. He confessed that he had learned the technique of making bombs from the internet.
Apart from learning how to make bombs, terrorists also use the internet for planning and coordinating specific tasks. There is incontestable evidence that the al Qaeda used the internet in carrying out the September eleventh attacks. They heavily relied on the internet to retrieve information, plan and coordinate the attacks. The federal officials found numerous encrypted messages in the computer belonging to al Qaeda terrorist, Abu Zubaydah. The messages were posted in an area of the website that was protected by passwords. The September eleventh attack was reportedly masterminded by Zubaydah. The messages that were found in the computer dated between May 2001 and September ninth, 2001. It was noted that in August 2001, the frequency of the messages were highest. The al Qaeda sent their messages using public facilities and e-mails in order to maintain their anonymity. The hijackers of the plane used free web based email accounts to communicate (Denning, 2001).
Chat rooms have also been use by other terrorist organizations to plan and coordinate operations. For instance, the Hamas activists plan their operations using the internet. They use chat rooms and exchange emails to coordinate their activities across the Middle East. They use steganography, to give technical details on explosive use, photographs, maps and directions. At times, they relay information and instructions hidden in simple codes. The final message of Mohammed Attar to the other terrorists who carried out the September attacks was in code form and read: “The semester begins in three more weeks. We’ve obtained 19 confirmations for studies in the faculty of law, the faculty of urban planning, the faculty of fine arts, and the faculty of engineering.” The codes of the targeted buildings were apparently represented by the various faculties (Verton, 2003).
The internet and 9/11
For quite some time, authorities have been closely monitoring websites that are being considered extremist. The chief of International Terrorism section of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Dale Watson, informed a United States Senate committee in February 1998 that the internet has been used by major terrorist groups not only to spread propaganda but also to recruit new members (Grunter & Nail 2001). Prior to 9/11, the sites were not to be interfered with by the authorities for legal reasons. However, since the time of 9/11, the Federal Bureau of investigation has engaged in the closure of numerous sites. Several other sites in the Jihad Ring were also pulled down by Yahoo while a twenty person team was established by Lycos Europe to monitor its websites for any illegal activity besides removing any content that could be classified as terrorist inclined (Scheeres 2001). The use of internet was outlawed in Afghanistan by the Taliban in August 2001 except in their headquarters. The Taliban however still maintained its use regardless of sanctions that were laid upon it by the United Nations.
Currently, American officials are engaged in searching the internet for reemergence of a website in Arabic language that is believed to have been used by al Qaeda. Statements which are alleged to have been made by the Taliban and al Qaeda members have been spotted on the site Alneda.com, a site registered in Singapore (Garrison et al, 2001). Before the site was shut down by American officials, it had appeared in early June 2002 on web servers in Malaysia and Texas. Its first appearance in the net is thought to have been in early February, 2002. In order to make it more difficult for American officials to track it down, it is expected to reemerge under a numerical address. The site contained Osama bin Laden’s audio and video clips according to media reports. It also contained photos of detained al Qaeda suspects currently in Pakistan, an attack warning on the United States alleged to have been given by Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the al Qaeda’s spokesman and numerous articles purporting that under Islamic laws, the bombings directed at America are justified (Kelley, 2002). The media has also speculated that al Qaeda’s operational cells are being directed from the site.
The hijackers of the September 11th attack had made use of the internet to carry out their operations. Terrorists have only perfected their internet skills ever since the attacks were carried out. They have also increased their presence in the web. The great virtues of the internet have been employed by terrorists to instill fear in the society. Presently, terrorists all every kind of ideological persuasion has almost the same ideas of how to make use of the internet. Marxists, separatists, racists, Islamists, nationalists: all employ the internet to carry out their operations which makes them to be even more dangerous to the well being of the society. The ease at which individuals can access the internet, rate of the flow of information and all the advantages that the internet guarantees has made it an important medium for the terrorists. With this regard, the internet has not only brought an aspect of information freedom but also endangered the well being of the society in terms of exposing information to organizations whose aim is to see the society sink in the mud of terror. All this can be seen by the constant threats that terrorist organizations make on the internet.
However, the question that remains is how the society should respond. A definitive answer cannot be provided in this paper even though two things seem to be clear. First and foremost, the society must be informed on the ways that terrorists use the internet so that their activities can be monitored. As had been mentioned before, journalists, academicians, security agencies and policymakers often focus their attention on cyber terrorism which is normally an exaggerated threat with the result that they pay less attention to the more dangerous uses that the terrorists make of the internet. These uses are as many as they are as varied. In the perspective of the terrorists, they are invaluable. It is thus necessary that security agencies step up their capacity to study and track terrorist activities on the internet and find out ways through which the activities of terrorists using this medium can be limited.
Again, as much as it is our responsibility to defend our beloved society against terrorism, we must be careful on protecting then same values that are worth defending. As a measure against terrorism, some of the freedoms that the forefathers fought so hard to maintain may be eroded. In many ways, the internet is a manifestation of the democratic ideals of open communication and freedom of speech. It is a platform against which we can share and exchange ideas: nothing like it had ever existed before. Unfortunately, as has been discussed, the freedom that is being offered by the internet is susceptible to abuse from organizations and groups that are averse to uncensored expression and thought. If the fear of terrorist attacks compels us to restrict our own freedom of internet use, then in the process, we not only deal democracy a blow but also give the terrorists victory in their endeavor.
One thing that must be remembered is that some individuals in the society, most notably the politicians, have in the past used the fear of terrorism to advance and pass legislations that undermines the rights and liberties of individuals. There is an inherent danger in the use of advanced techniques to track , search and analyze communication. As much as such technologies might be useful in the war against cyber terrorism and internet terrorism, they may also have the result of giving the participating governments, especially those that are dictatorial hence minimal public accountability, an excuse and a tool to oppress its people. As such, they might use techniques that are bound to infringe upon the rights and liberties of their citizen.
The long term implications of monitoring and tracking the internet may be serious and damaging for democratic states and their values, with the result that it may add to an expensive price with regard to suppressed liberties to the grave consequences already laid upon by terrorism itself. With this regard, we need to tread carefully when handling the internet and terrorism since there are measures that we may take that can be graver than the threat being posed by terrorism itself.
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