زمرہ: Internet

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Internet making it easier to become a terrorist

LA Times – Reporting from Washington and New York — The abrupt transformation of Colleen R. LaRose from bored middle-aged matron to "JihadJane,” her Internet alias, was unique in many ways, but a common thread ties the alleged Islamic militant to other recent cases of homegrown terrorism: the Internet.


From charismatic clerics who spout hate online, to thousands of extremist websites, chat rooms and social networking pages that raise money and spread radical propaganda, the Internet has become a crucial front in the ever-shifting war on terrorism.
"LaRose showed that you can become a terrorist in the comfort of your own bedroom,” said Bruce Hoffman, professor of security studies at Georgetown University. "You couldn’t do that 10 years ago.”
"The new militancy is driven by the Web,” agreed Fawaz A. Gerges, a terrorism expert at the London School of Economics. "The terror training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan are being replaced by virtual camps on the Web.”
From their side, law enforcement and intelligence agencies are scrambling to monitor the Internet and penetrate radical websites to track suspects, set up sting operations or unravel plots before they are carried out.
The FBI arrested LaRose in October after she had spent months using e-mail, YouTube, MySpace and electronic message boards to recruit radicals in Europe and South Asia to "wage violent jihad,” according to a federal indictment unsealed this week.
That put the strawberry-haired Pennsylvania resident in league with many of the 12 domestic terrorism cases involving Muslims that the FBI disclosed last year, the most in any year since 2001. The Internet was cited as a recruiting or radicalizing tool in nearly every case.
"Basically, Al Qaeda isn’t coming to them,” Gerges said. "They are using the Web to go to Al Qaeda.”
In December, for example, five young men from northern Virginia were arrested in Pakistan on suspicion of seeking to join anti-American militants in Afghanistan.
A Taliban recruiter made contact with the group after one of the five, Ahmed Abdullah Minni, posted comments on YouTube praising videos of attacks on U.S. troops, officials said. To avoid detection, they communicated by leaving draft e-mail messages at a shared Yahoo e-mail address.
Hosam Smadi, a Jordanian, was arrested in September and accused of trying to use a weapon of mass destruction after he allegedly tried to blow up a 60-story office tower in downtown Dallas. The FBI began surveillance of Smadi after seeing his anti-American postings on an extremist website.

Survey: Internet will make people cleverer in next 10 years

An online survey published February 19 shows that over 75 percent of 895 interviewed netizens and experts believe that the Internet will make people cleverer in the next 10 years, according to a report from Reuters.

Most interviewees also expressed that the Internet would also be able to improve people’s reading and writing abilities in the next 10 years. This survey was jointly conducted by the U.S.’ Elon University and the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
According to Janna Quitney Anderson, the director of Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center and an author of the report, 75 percent of experts believe that using the Internet can strengthen and develop people’s intelligence and two-thirds of people say using the Internet can improve people’s reading, writing and knowledge-transmitting abilities. 
However, 21 percent of interviewees hold an opposite opinion. They believe using the Internet too much might even weaken people’s IQs.
Anderson said that there are still many people criticizing the influences brought by online tools such as Google and Wikipedia. 
The interviewees included scientific and technological researchers, commercial elites, consultants, writers and netizens. Of the 895 interviewees, 371 were regarded as experts.
The survey also found that 42 percent of the experts believe that in the next 10 years, anonymous online activities will "sharply decrease” due to the stricter Internet safety and identification system, but 55 percent of people believe it will still be easy to scan web pages anonymously.
By People’s Daily Online