Terrorism and the Internet

November 2009 • Volume 3, Issue 11
Should Web sites that promote terrorism be shut down?
By Barbara Mantel


Nicolas Berg, taken hostage in Iraq and beheaded on film in 2004. (www.wikipedia.org)
Islamic terrorists hold Nicholas Berg, an American Jewish businessman, who was taken hostage in Iraq in 2004 and beheaded on film. The horrific video is still available online, underscoring how extremists use the Internet to further their jihadist agendas. (www.wikipedia.org)

A decade ago, terrorist organizations operated or controlled only about a dozen Web sites. Today there are more than 7,000. Terrorist groups use the Internet for many activities, ranging from raising funds to explaining how to build a suicide bomb. They find the Internet appealing for the same reasons everyone else does: It's cheap, easily accessible, unregulated and reaches a potentially enormous audience. As terrorist content spreads to chat rooms, blogs, user groups, social networking sites and virtual worlds, many experts, politicians and law enforcement officials are debating how government and industry should respond. Some want Internet companies to stop terrorists from using the Web, while others say that is not the role of Internet service providers. As governments enact laws based on the belief that the Internet plays a significant role in promoting terrorism, critics say the new measures often overstep free-speech and privacy rights.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
May 14, 2021  Domestic Terrorism
Apr. 09, 2021  Targeted Killings
Apr. 01, 2016  Defeating the Islamic State
Jan. 29, 2016  Unrest in Turkey
Jun. 27, 2014  Assessing the Threat From al Qaeda
Sep. 02, 2011  Remembering 9/11
Sep. 03, 2010  Homegrown Jihadists
Mar. 12, 2010  Prosecuting Terrorists Updated
Nov. 2009  Terrorism and the Internet
Feb. 13, 2009  Homeland Security
Apr. 21, 2006  Port Security
Oct. 14, 2005  Global Jihad
Apr. 02, 2004  Nuclear Proliferation and Terrorism
Feb. 22, 2002  Policing the Borders
Oct. 12, 2001  War on Terrorism
Jul. 21, 1995  Combating Terrorism
Aug. 26, 1988  New Approach to Mideast Terrorism
May 30, 1986  Dealing With Terrorism
Oct. 08, 1982  Prospects for Peace in Northern Ireland
Mar. 27, 1981  Anti-Terrorism: New Priority in Foreign Policy
Dec. 02, 1977  International Terrorism
Jan. 26, 1973  Control of Skyjacking
May 13, 1970  Political Terrorism
Jul. 24, 1952  Red Terrorism in Malaya
Internet and Social Media