Terrorist Use of the Internet: Information Operations in Cyberspace John Rollins

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Published: March 8th 2011

Kindle Edition

27 pages


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Terrorist Use of the Internet: Information Operations in Cyberspace  by  John Rollins

Terrorist Use of the Internet: Information Operations in Cyberspace by John Rollins
March 8th 2011 | Kindle Edition | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, talking book, mp3, RTF | 27 pages | ISBN: | 8.76 Mb

The Internet is used by international insurgents, jihadists, and terrorist organizations as a tool for radicalization and recruitment, a method of propaganda distribution, a means of communication, and ground for training. Although there are no knownMoreThe Internet is used by international insurgents, jihadists, and terrorist organizations as a tool for radicalization and recruitment, a method of propaganda distribution, a means of communication, and ground for training. Although there are no known reported incidents of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure as acts of terror, this could potentially become a tactic in the future.There are several methods for countering terrorist and insurgent information operations on the Internet.

The federal government has organizations that conduct strategic communications, counterpropaganda, and public diplomacy activities. The National Framework for Strategic Communication guides how interagency components are to integrate their activities. However, these organizations may be stovepiped within agencies, and competing agendas may be at stake. This report does not discuss technical and Internet architecture design solutions.Some may interpret the law to prevent federal agencies from conducting “propaganda” activities that may potentially reach domestic audiences.

Others may wish to dismantle all websites that are seen to have malicious content or to facilitate acts of terror, while some may have a competing interest in keeping a site running and monitoring it for intelligence value.Key issues for Congress:•Although the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative addresses a federal cybersecurity strategy and departmental roles and responsibilities, overclassification, competing equities, and poor information sharing between agencies hinder implementation of a national cybersecurity strategy.

(See “Federal Government Efforts to Address Cyberterrorism.”)•Federal agencies have interpreted the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 (22 U.S.C. § 1461), also known as the Smith-Mundt Act, as creating a “firewall” between foreign and domestic audiences, limiting U.S. government counterpropaganda activities on the Internet. (See “Institutional Constraints.”)•Some agencies favor monitoring and surveillance of potentially harmful websites, while others would shut them down entirely. (See “Intelligence Gain/Loss Calculus.”)•Different agency approaches to combating terrorists’ use of the Internet and different definitions and strategies for activities such as information operations (IO) and strategic communications (SC) create an oversight challenge for Congress.

(See “Counterpropaganda: Strategic Communications, Public Diplomacy, and Information Operations.”)Cybersecurity proposals from the 111th Congress such as S. 3480, which contained controversial provisions labeled by the media as the Internet “Kill Switch,” are likely to be reintroduced in some form in the 112th Congress.

(See “Congressional Activity.”) With growing interest in strategic communications and public diplomacy, there may also be an effort to revise the Smith - Mundt Act.



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