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The Internet Terrorist – and How He Gets Away!

11th February, 2009

Actually, I’m really confused.

It has been known, for a long time, that many terrorists use the internet as a knowledge repository, a communication medium, a stealth planning platform, and god knows what. Its just crazy when you start to think about it – there are many websites that openly promote their propoganda, even solicit funds from possible donors. Forget human intervention, even automated web crawlers (which are used by search engines) can mark these as dubious and harmful sites.

It’s also technologically possible to almost pin-point the geographic location of a server based on its web address. It’s out in the public domain – I used this site and found the exact address (with the correct street name and city of this wordpress blog)! Of course, terrorists are’nt that dumb – they use many layers of proxies and a lot of encryption to get their message across.

Nothing remains private on the Internet

And we all know that. Government agencies, I’m sure, have a vast array of computers processing all the intelligence data that they can gather. How else are they able to crack all those hawala trades, illegal money transfers and other such financial hogwash?

That also includes finding the online supporters of terrorism. Its not very difficult to track an email to its source – like what happened when a threatening email was sent before the Mumbai bomb attacks. Of course, it was a dead end – a poor chap had to face endless questioning all because he left his WiFi connection unsecure.

It really wont take long for a large array of computers whirring along in some non-descript computer laboratory to actually sniff through internet traffic, and crunch its data to find more information about terrorists. Not only can you find the actual location of these hosted servers (and consequently the sympathetic webhost owner), but a complete list of repeat visitors, their names, possible locations, their friends. Analyze that data and you might uncover the web of online terrorist supporters (which might only be the tip of the iceberg).

Their online presence is their biggest mistake.

So wheres the crackdown?

This is why I started by saying I’m really confused. The agencies uncovered the illegal pedophile ring on the internet, coordinated a global crackdown by identifying who produced child-abuse material, found their homes, arrested them and put them in jail for life. It was amazing to see the effectiveness of this global sweep, saving many children from a very bleak future.

Why can’t the same be done on terrorists, saving humanity from a very bleak future?

I’m just too confused.

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