Terror and the Internet.

Author:Weichert, Stephan A.
Position:Terror on the Internet: The New Arena, the New Challenges - Book review

Weimann, G. (2006). Terror on the Internet. The new arena, the new challenges. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press. 256 pages.

To reach maximal disruption with minimal means--this has always been the objective of terrorism. But it was not until the age of electronic mass communication that this goal could finally be realized. The claim that the global sphere of the World Wide Web has, among other things, truly become a breeding ground for international terrorism is massively substantiated by the findings of Gabriel Weimann at Haifa University, Israel. He describes cyberspace as the ideal meeting place for all the supporters of a terrorist cause, a widespread, round-the-clock, ticking platform for the anonymous exchange of information as well as a tool for professional fundraising, recruitment, and mobilization of new proselytes of both genders and all ages. Because of its decentralized structure and the wide array of multimedia tools, for Weimann the Internet is the perfect new arena for engaging in all sorts of terrorist activities.

Reading Weimann's book makes it seem plausible that terrorists finally have found the weapon for waging the psychological war against their enemies. Hence the disturbingly long list of ways terrorists are using the Web for their cause, starting with the simple and easy collection of useful data, such as the timetables for all kinds of public transport and the exact location of promising targets; communicating among different terrorist organizations through e-mail and chat rooms; as well as accessing downloadable instructional material such as videos and manuals on how to build bombs. In short, every tool the ultra-rapid technological progress of the last few years has churned out is being used by terrorists everywhere and most of it is available absolutely free of charge.

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