War moves online
Most people know that the funding for the prototype of the internet (Arpanet) came from an agency within the US Department of Defense, and that one of the reasons for the decentralised nature of the network was to make it more robust in case of physical attack during wartime.
Therefore it is ironic that the underlying internet infrastructure is used as a platform for new kinds of attack, from cyber warfare by individual states and as a way of disseminating propaganda by terrorist organisations such as IS.
Of course, governments and terrorists have always aimed to use communication channels to get their messages across. Hence censorship in times of war, and even reporting restrictions during peacetime – I remember the ban on members of Sinn Fein (and other Irish republican and loyalist groups) from speaking on TV in the 1980s and 1990s.
The internet, and more particularly social media, has opened up completely new ways of reaching audiences, and groups such as IS have been particularly strong at using these sort of channels. One study claimed that IS and its sympathisers controlled 90,000 Twitter accounts for example. Governments have tried to fight back, but the combination of the size and global spread of the internet and the difficulty of pinpointing specific individuals has made their job more difficult. The latest measures, recently announced by David Cameron, include ensuring that ISPs do more to remove extremist material and identify those that post it. However in a fast-moving world, the concern is that it is impossible for governments to move fast enough – as well as worries about the impact on free speech.
Some people are therefore taking action independently. Hacktivist group Anonymous is targeting alleged IS supporters online, recently publishing a list of over 750 Twitter accounts that it claims are spreading IS propaganda. It is also trying to take down Facebook pages, blogs and websites used by supposed supporters of the group. To try and influence search engine results it is flooding some Twitter accounts with images of Japanese anime character ISIS-Chan, making it more difficult for those looking for information from IS to find it.
I must admit that the attacks by Anonymous leave me in two minds. On one hand, anything that reduces the online footprint of a group that advocates cold-blooded killing of those that it disagrees with, can only be a good thing. But at the same time Anonymous is setting itself up as judge and jury – there is no right of appeal if someone innocent is targeted in error. It feels very much like the justice of the Wild West, perhaps because that is what many parts of the internet have become. For example, other groups linked to Anonymous recently took down the website of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, after one of its officers shot and killed a protester, an action that could have hampered the ability of the public to find out information or potentially report incidents.
I’m sure Anonymous is confident in the information it is working with, and when it comes to IS its mission is laudable in many ways, and seems to be getting some results. But surely it is something that a combination of social networks and the authorities should be leading on? The real issue is that the majority of those with the technical skills to hack perceived wrongdoers don’t want to play by the rules – they’d much rather operate outside the law, rather than as part of it. The challenge for governments is therefore not only to persuade the online population of the dangers of IS, but to enlist the help of hackers to work with them more officially if they want to use their skills for good. That won’t be easy, but is vital if there is going to be a united front when it comes to the online War on Terror.
July 22, 2015 - Posted by Chris Measures | Marketing, Social Media | anime, Anonymous, Arpanet, David Cameron, extremist, Facebook, internet, IS, Isis, ISIS-Chan, RCMP, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, terrorist, twitter
No comments yet.
Why Revolutionary Measures?
Marketing is undergoing a revolution. The advent of social media provides the opportunity for one-to-one communication for the first time since the move to an industrial society. This blog will look at what this means for B2B PR and marketing, incorporating my own thoughts/rants and interests. Do let me know your feedback!
About meI'm Chris Measures and I've spent the last 18 years creating and implementing PR and marketing campaigns for technology companies. I've worked with everyone from large quoted companies to fast growth start-ups, giving me unrivalled experience and ideas. I'm now director of Measures Consulting, an agency that uses this expertise to deliver PR and marketing success for technology businesses.
- Video kills the advertising star? - My take on Google and YouTube's problems via @LinkedIn linkedin.com/pulse/video-ki… https://t.co/ASXCsIHZCi 4 days ago
- RT @prweekuknews: Senior b2b PR pros are 'undervalued' and 'overworked': bit.ly/2mYKfZF #pr #comms https://t.co/Y88HawFEaC 4 days ago
- The YouTube advertising storm - and why this could just be the start of an advertiser backlash… twitter.com/i/web/status/8… 6 days ago
- BBC News - Uber pledges to make drivers happier bbc.co.uk/news/technolog… 6 days ago
- RT @prweekuknews: Do you send unsolicited emails to journalists? You could have a big problem: bit.ly/2n17t5H #pr #comms https://t… 6 days ago
advertising Amazon Android Apple ARM Artificial intelligence Autonomy Barack Obama BBC BBC Micro Business Cambridge Cambridgeshire Cambridge University CfEL Chris Measures Communications Creativity Crossing the Chasm Daily Mail David Cameron Digital Donald Trump Ed Miliband Edward Snowden Entrepreneur European Union Facebook FIFA Google government IBM Idea Transform innovation Intel internet Internet of Things iPad IPhone Journalism Journalist LinkedIn London Malcolm Tucker marketing Mark Zuckerberg Measures Consulting Microsoft mobile MySpace Nick Clegg Nigel Farage Nokia Norwich PR Privacy Public Relations Raspberry Pi Silicon Fen Silicon Valley Smartphone social media Social network Starbucks startup Tech City Technology The Economist The Times twitter United States WhatsApp World Cup YouTube ZX Spectrum
Site infoRevolutionary Measures
Blog at WordPress.com.