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“Privacy, Terrorism, Blowback, and Crime” – Where to start? April 10, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Industry News, Laws and Leglslation, terrorism.
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There is an interesting story on the front page of Foxnews this morning where a self-proclaimed patriot hacker who calls himself “The Raptor” is “…waging his own war on terror..” by taking down online forums used by Al Qaeda sympathizers.  Certainly, known, and admitted terrorist organizations are not in the public interest. This blog is not justifying their position their tactics, or anything else they do.

The purpose of this post is to question the value of an individual (if you believe his tweets) taking unilateral action and then basking in the attention given to his actions. While vigilante actions may have a visceral appeal to many (including this author, at times) do actions such as this exacerbate the situation?  Additionally, one has to ask whether he is right in taking unilateral action?  As an American my gut reaction is to applaud the person but upon closer review, I don’t know if his actions are positive or altruistic.

In espionage there is a term called Blowback that refers to the unintended consequences of a covert action.  Consider for a moment that this person, acting without authority, takes down Al Qaeda website and they, in turn, murder an innocent person or blow up a bus.  Blowback is one of the reasons that covert actions are so carefully considered before being undertaken.  While this person may succeed in ‘taking down’ a website for two weeks what is the end result? Has he really hampered their efforts or simply added fuel to the proverbial fire?

Another thought to consider is that of free speech.  In the US, as well as many other countries, simply agreeing, relating, or associating with people who hold views many of us consider deplorable is protected.  A good example is the group NAMBLA or the North American Man, Boy Love Association (I did not make this up…thank you Law and Order for educating me on this;)…it is, according to Wikipedia, “… is a pedophile and pederasty advocacy organization in the United States that works to abolish age of consent laws criminalizing adult sexual involvement with minors.”  The point being that there are few organizations and views as repugnant to most as one that advocates sex with a child yet…the views expressed are protected even if the explicit acts are criminal.

The final point on this post is about the motivations of this individual.  After taking down one website he tweeted: ““Bow. Wave. Exit Stage Right. Curtains. Applause,” then, to incite those he had attacked, implored them to “bring it”.  While the individual claims he wants no credit: “Credit is for banks — I don’t care about credit,” he told FoxNews.com. “I care about our kids surviving, and innocent people living in distant lands being able to go about their lives without fearing being blown up or being hacked into pieces.”  Obviously, this individual revels in the notoriety his pseudonym has created. “When the blood stops flowing, the historians can make of it what they wish,” he said. “I’ll just smile and play with my grandkids.”

While many argue that Anonymous is criminal, why is this individual being given front page press?  It certainly seems that they are more closely knit than they would like to appear.  Anyone who hides behind a pseudonym and takes action in the name of “truth, justice and the American way” (yes, that is a joke) should have their motives and tactics questioned.

Something to think about…

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