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Terrorists May Twitter, Army Says


Twitter for terrorism?

The US Army has posted a report citing certain mobile and web technologies that could be used to enable terrorism. One chapter, entitled "Potential for Terrorist Use of Twitter," observes that the Los Angeles earthquakes in July were reported by users of the microblogging site long before established news outlets had time to cover it, writes the BBC.

Perceiving Twitter's ability to publish anything, instantly, as threatening, US intelligence expressed concern that terrorists could use Twitter to plan and organize quicker attacks. This September, for example, activists used Twitter to organize protests at the Republican National Convention.

"Twitter is already used by some members to post and support extremist ideologies and perspectives," the report ominously states. Thus, "[terrorists] could theoretically use Twitter social networking in the US as an operational tool."

A Nielsen survey ranked Twitter one of the fastest-growing social networks year over year. Popular with early adopters in the tech blogosphere, the site drew partisan interest when Republican Representative John Culberson (TX) used it to vent frustrations over rules forbidding Congressmen from linking to certain sites on their official webpages.

Bloggers also flock to Twitter to discuss politics in real-time, and to liveblog the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates.

Other technologies mentioned in the US Army terrorism report include VOIP (which can make it difficult to trace malicious calls), Facebook, MySpace, certain gaming networks, and satellite navigation and mapping tools.

In particular, mobile navigation available on certain Nokia handsets was pegged as a potential outlet for "Specialist use in Marksmanship, Border Crossings and in Concealment of Supplies."

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