Sunday, October 26, 2008

Twitter For Terrorists - Missing The Point

This is just too much for me not to comment on. The US Intelligence community is concerned that terrorists may be using Twitter to plan attacks. I'm so not making this up:

The U.S. intelligence community is concerned that terrorists might use micro-blogging tool Twitter to coordinate attacks, according to a purported draft Army intelligence report posted on the Web.

The report--present by the 304th Military Intelligence Battalion and posted to the Federation of the American Scientists Web site--examines the possible ways terrorists could use mobile and Web technologies such as the Global Positioning System, digital maps, and Twitter mashups to plan and execute terrorist attacks.

The report goes on to list at least 3 scenarios in which you could use Twitter in an attacking scheme.

OK, I suppose this is possible. But here's the thing - Twitter is all public*. If there's one service in the world you'd want Terrorists to use, it's Twitter. There's no need to get any warrants or crack any encryption. I mean, a public stream of searchable data - this has to be an analyst's dream.

It's when the terrorists figure out PGP that you've got a problem.

Oh, and I love the quote:

"Twitter has also become a social activism tool for socialists, human rights groups, communists, vegetarians, anarchists, religious communities, atheists, political enthusiasts, hacktivists and others to communicate with each other and to send messages to broader audiences," the report said.

Lord knows, if my shul is using Twitter, or worse yet, vegetarians are - then you know terrorists can't be far behind.

* - OK, the service isn't entirely public. You can direct message people. But that defeats the purpose of twitter, and is as useful as say E-mail. Even then, the different relationships between users is public.

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