February 21, 2013

Why Taking Out Jihadi Twitter Accounts is Good for Intel

One of the most important articles written on strategies for dealing with terrorists online. Ever. Why? Because it adds data to what we've intuitively for some time.

The main takeaway:

All of this illustrates an important but oft overlooked point: Strategy doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Total suppression of extremists on the Internet would cost us real intelligence, but that isn't a reason to just let them do whatever they want. By making their lives difficult, we make ours easier in ways large and small.
Berger is make the same basic argument that I've been making for .... years and years now. Knocking jihadis off the web has a funneling affect: the less committed tend to fall off the radar because of the hassle, but the more committed are likely take the time and effort to find a new outlet.

Often the problem isn't that we don't have enough data, it's that we have too much data and not enough eyeballs to analyze it. I won't belabor the point as it is self explanatory.

Moreover, when a Twitter account or a website goes down we don't lose all the data from the previous iteration. It's called "backing up the website", and if that seems too complicated than you shouldn't be in the business in the first place.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 04:13 PM | Comments |