Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fight Terror With YouTube

I read an interesting op-ed piece in the NY Times today about how web 2.0 has the potential to disrupt Al Qaeda’s use of media to propagate their message and recruit new members. In essence, web 2.0 is all about freedom, access to ideas, and discussion. When an organization, such as Al Qaeda, depends on their ability to suppress freedom and control ideas to succeed, it becomes obvious how the open nature of web 2.0 communities can directly affect those organizations. Imagine the kind of comments people would leave on a video message posted by Osama Bin Laden on YouTube. The group think mentality that dominates terrorism will be infiltrated with other ideas that challenge, (sometimes with 4 letter words), the messages that are being posted. It is no surprise that many of the leading terrorists come from countries where governments try to control or suppress the use of the internet. Here is an excerpt from the article.
It’s also an indication of how a more interactive, empowered online community, particularly in the Arab-Islamic world, may prove to be Al Qaeda’s Achilles’ heel. Anonymity and accessibility, the hallmarks of Web 1.0, provided an ideal platform for Al Qaeda’s radical demagoguery. Social networking, the emerging hallmark of Web 2.0, can unite a fragmented silent majority and help it to find its voice in the face of thuggish opponents, whether they are repressive rulers or extremist Islamic movements.

Unfortunately, the authoritarian governments of the Middle East are doing their best to hobble Web 2.0. By blocking the Internet, they are leaving the field open to Al Qaeda and its recruiters. The American military’s statistics and jihadists’ own online postings show that among the most common countries of origin for foreign fighters in Iraq are Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen. It’s no coincidence that Reporters Without Borders lists Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria as “Internet enemies,” and Libya and Yemen as countries where the Web is “under surveillance.” There is a simple lesson here: unfettered access to a free Internet is not merely a goal to which we should aspire on principle, but also a very practical means of countering Al Qaeda. As users increasingly make themselves heard, the ensuing chaos will not be to everyone’s liking, but it may shake the online edifice of Al Qaeda’s totalitarian ideology.


gorka said...

quote:"It is no surprise that many of the leading terrorists come from countries where governments try to control or suppress the use of the internet."

let me laugh about this, the biggest terrorist state on earth is the U.S.A
and the others are the 7 dwarves in comparison.


Terence Armentano, M.Ed. said...

I think it's funny that you are proving my point by commenting on this blog and exercising your freedom of speech. Even though you are confused and misguided, you have the right to state your opinion here in this crazy nation. By the way, the server for this blog is located in the USA. Try criticizing Iran or Saudi Arabia on a blog from a computer connected to the internet in one of those countries. The irony of your comment is amusing.

Amanda said...

Wow, it sure takes a lot of intellingence to carelessly call the U.S. a terrorist state with absolutely no factual evidence whatsoever and then reference a disney movie. Classy.

Check out and see what happens to bloggers in real terrorist nations. They don't tow the line- they go to jail.

Oh, and by the way. This "terrorist" country now allows non-U.S. citizens who are being held (usually for killing people and blowing things up) to have a trial before a jury before a judge. So basically, the united states gives terrorists the right to a free and fair trial by jury, just like it affords its owns citizens. How many countries in the world even give their OWN citizens a fair trial by jury, let alone evil terrorists who are trying to kill their citizens.

Rob Domanski said...

In a Web 2.0 world based on user-generated content, the loudest voices are no longer the most significant. It's the sheer numbers of voices that are. It's in this respect that Al-Qaeda can't compete in modern information warfare.

Rob Domanski said...

Thanks for your comment, Terence. This is a nice place you've got here (despite the first commenter on this post). I'll be visiting again :-)

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