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US Army Sees Twitter As Possible Terrorist "Operation Tool"

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the which-technically-is-true dept.

Communications 320

Mike writes "A draft US Army intelligence report has identified the popular micro-blogging service Twitter as a potential terrorist tool. A chapter titled 'Potential for Terrorist Use of Twitter' notes that Twitter members reported the July Los Angeles earthquake faster than news outlets and activists at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis used it to provide information on police movements. 'Twitter is already used by some members to post and/or support extremist ideologies and perspectives,' the report said. The report goes on to say, 'Terrorists could theoretically use Twitter social networking in the US as an operation tool.' Just wait until the Army finds out about chat rooms and email!"

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first tits! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25518937)

boobs are a myth!

Re:first tits! (2, Funny)

Hanyin (1301045) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519623)

boobs are a myth!

I understand the -1 mod on the parent, but redundant? Off topic or troll I would understand but this is as if geeks already know that "tits are a myth" and as such the information is nothing new.

I'm sad to be a member of this community =)

Bad US Army Intel. (5, Funny)

iamwhoiamtoday (1177507) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518981)

Go sit in the corner. If it's taken them THIS long to realize that the internet is nothing but a gigantic communications tool... geez....

Re:Bad US Army Intel. (5, Insightful)

foobsr (693224) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519019)

A hypothesis would be that they are trying to implement hooks to restrict 'free speech', the latter being a potential 'operation tool' for 'terrorists'.

CC.

Re:Bad US Army Intel. (5, Insightful)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519123)

I imagine they are discussing those so-called "domestic terrorists" who believe such wacky ideas like "Don't Tread on Me", or that the Constitution is the Supreme Law, or that Human Rights are inalienable, or that juries have the power to nullify prosecution brought against innocent persons. ( http://www.pa-aware.org/who-are-terrorists/domestic-6.asp [pa-aware.org] [pa-aware.org] )

Re:Bad US Army Intel. (4, Funny)

marco.antonio.costa (937534) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519289)

Terrorist.

Re:Bad US Army Intel. (3, Insightful)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519413)

I see what you're saying, but I think I can understand the Army's motivation in talking of such things and it's their whole fixation on finding the "unknowns", they don't want a "game changer" of a technology or strategy unleashed upon them totally unawares. I believe Rumsfeld was lampooned for his attempt to explain it in a press conference. Regardless it is talked about in higher circles than late night tv watchers and makes sense, to immediately assume this as a threat to democracy is a little ridiculous.

Re:Bad US Army Intel. (5, Funny)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519747)

What are you doing?

Husayn is trying to figure out these stupid remote triggering devices. Anything to avoid spending Ramadan with his wife's sisters!

Ali is watching Coalition troop movements. Bo-ring!

Kamel wishes the carpet bombing would stop soon. The cave is cold. And the other martyrs smell bad.

Akbar is thinking about the 72 virgins awaiting him in Paradise. They better not be fat like his sister Fatima, or he is going to feel very mislead by his imam.

Commander Tariq says his Mujahedin should stop using the Zionist tool Twitter and get back to fighting the infidels, or he will beat them like the cowardly she-goats they are.

Extremist Ideologies don't fit in twitter messages (4, Interesting)

billstewart (78916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519775)

As you say, Marx was an idiot - but if you look at him and most "Marxists" of various sorts who follow him, they were really verbose idiots. Sure, Engels got him to fit the Communist Manifesto in a short, punchy document with memorable slogans, but Das Kapital or the Unabomber's 35000-word manifesto were more typical. And most of the Islamic extremists are really verbose as well. Twitter and text messages are simply the wrong medium for ideological extremists to use.

Twitter may be fine for tactical operational messages or for non-ideologicals like gangs - "Lets go kill the Haitians!" fits just fine. Marxists can at least use Twitter to say "Let's go get beer"; even that doesn't work for the Islamics.

Maybe the white-power hate groups could fit their ideology into short messages, if they can type that well, but they're the FBI's problem, not the Army's. And even they'd mostly use it for things like "Goin to Wa||mrt - white sheets are on sale".

Re:Bad US Army Intel. (2, Interesting)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519707)

USMC lawyers who've resigned in protest (from the prosecution teams) in Gitmo have been smeared. At this stage, pretty much everyone's a terrorist. UK PM Gordon Brown just used anti-terror legislation against Iceland [boingboing.net] , ferchrisake...

Re:Bad US Army Intel. (4, Insightful)

Brian_Ellenberger (308720) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519527)

A hypothesis would be that they are trying to implement hooks to restrict 'free speech', the latter being a potential 'operation tool' for 'terrorists'.

Did anyone bring up anything about banning anything? Didn't think so. It is hyperbole to say the US military is about to ban free speech because they are studying twitter as a tool that can be used in certain scenarios by a terrorist. Part of their job is to study *every* potential tool that our enemies use. If they didn't they would be blamed as ignorant or out-of-touch.

The summary is short, but the issue isn't that they are stupid and don't realize that the internet is one big communications tool. They INVENTED the darn thing. It's the specifics of how it is used. Twitter is obviously a different tool than chat rooms, just like Facebook is different from the days of people having their own personal home pages.

Re:Bad US Army Intel. (0, Troll)

k420 (1357907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519755)

Gotta love the fascist GOP. Next will be all liberals will have to wear a L on there clothing and forced to live in getto's.

Just wait for the plan to send soldiers in to the (2, Funny)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519027)

Just wait for the plan to send soldiers in to the net.

Re:Bad US Army Intel. (4, Funny)

interiot (50685) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519051)

They've been mesmerized by the porn since 1993. "Wait, you mean you can communicate over the internet too? Wow, cool!"

Re: 1993! (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519637)

Okay, let's settle this one right now.

Coded Porn!

Infiltrate the holes in the spread legs of the subject. Move in and out smoothly and competently while keeping the subject at ease and pliant.

Re:Bad US Army Intel. (1)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519207)

Bad? Nah, come on, seriously... you couldn't make this shit up. "bad intel" doesn't come into it. "bad brains"? maybe...

Re:Bad US Army Intel. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25519227)

Also terrorist operation tools:

The Internets. Bombs. Fertilizer. Gasoline. Guns. Fear.

Re:Bad US Army Intel. (5, Insightful)

qw0ntum (831414) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519259)

I don't think anyone is stupid enough to have missed that the internet is a gigantic communication tool (for more than just porn). Obviously there are people in the military bureaucracy who have never heard of Twitter, and this report is going to be their introduction. What is its purpose? To inform decision makers that it is possible to create or use tools like Twitter to broadcast information point-to-multipoint, and how this capability can be abused by terrorist groups. I am sure that there are people in the Pentagon, due to their age or lack of experience with modern web apps, who have never considered this possibility and it's probably good they are made aware.

Does this mean that someone is going to misinterpret this report to mean Twitter is a terrorist organization? I'm sure (would it really be so bad if it got taken down? :P ), but those people are already beyond help. Does this mean that no one in the Pentagon had ever heard of Twitter? No. Does it mean that fighting Twitter is about to become a priority for the Army? Emphatically, no. What it means is that the Army intelligence service was trying to inform the chain of command about modern applications on the internet and their potential to be used as a weapon. And guess what? That's their job. So I, for one, am glad they are doing it. With full knowledge, I might add, of the past abuses of civil rights that the US intelligence community has committed.

When I worked as a software designer for Big Company, I remember they gave me a kind of cheesy pamphlet describing a day in the life of the target customer for our product, interspersed with market information. I bet to a marketer, everything in there was a "no shit Sherlock" fact, but to me as a developer it was new and valuable information. Same with this, to /.'ers this is a "no shit" idea, but to people whose lives are primarily spent off the internet it would be valuable.

Re:Bad US Army Intel. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25519767)

I don't think anyone is stupid enough to have missed that the internet is a gigantic communication tool (for more than just porn).

Wha? There's more than just porn???

Moderator terrorists (4, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519311)

the internet is nothing but a gigantic communications tool

That's right! And, what's worse, they have infiltrated the Slashdot moderation system! They are using Slashdot moderators to transmit their messages. Watch this:

If this post is moderated (-1, Offtopic) it means "skyjack an aircraft"

If this post is moderated (-1, Redundant) it means "bomb the Pentagon"

If this post is moderated (-1, Overrated) it means "spread anthrax over a large US city"

If this post is moderated (-1, Troll) it means "put child pornography in the internet"

If this post is moderated (-1, Flamebait) it means "send a suicide bomber to the subway"

If this post is moderated (+1, Insightful) it means "disband, they found us out"

If this post is moderated (+1, Interesting) it means "go to the FBI and tell everything about us"

If this post is moderated (+1, Informative) it means "sorry, we are wrong"

If this post is moderated (+1, Funny) it means "get a life, don't be a terrorist"

If this post is moderated (+1, Underrated) it means "terrorist? Oops, sorry, I wanted to be a theorist"

Re:Moderator terrorists (5, Funny)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519391)


Never have I been so sincere in saying this, but: I wish I had mod points. :D

Re:Moderator terrorists (3, Funny)

Farmer Pete (1350093) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519593)

I wonder which will happen first...the FBI will break into your house and beat you till you admit you are a terrorist, or the terrorists you work with will bust into your house and beat you for leaking their code onto the internet. Either way, I'd take some Advil, cause you are going to have a killer of a headache in a little while.

Re:Bad US Army Intel. (4, Funny)

carlzum (832868) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519353)

Wait until they find out that there's an ultra-portable, wireless tool that allows terrorists to interact by voice and instantly exchange notes, photos, and videos. They can even customize the devices with anti-US skins and Bin Laden ring tones.

Re:Bad US Army Intel. (4, Funny)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519599)

Or what if they find out there are communication tools used by terrorists [wikipedia.org] that are grown inside the terrorists bodies, which can only be removed by surgical procedures?

Re:Bad US Army Intel. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25519667)

not to mention most of them come with built in gps and location services so the terrorists will know exactly where to go!

Apparently the person that wrote this is still using radios to communicate.

Re:Bad US Army Intel. (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519403)

I think that our defense agencies including the Army are very aware and very, very involved in study of all internet traffic at a sophisticated and penetrating level.
                  Since the public is never permitted to actually know about these secret practices we can have no clue as to the cost and whether these efforts have ever or will ever yield fruit.

Re:Bad US Army Intel. (1)

jcuervo (715139) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519569)

Go look up Operation Able Danger.

Re:Bad US Army Intel. (1, Insightful)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519587)

I want to know how in the world they think anyone, especially terrorists, can plan anything in such a short space, there's only 140 characte

Re:Bad US Army Intel. (1)

PainMeds (1301879) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519581)

The reasoning behind this is that otherwise semi-private communication, such as email and encryption, reveals the existence of a conversation, and hence a relationship. The idea of using a social networking tool like Twitter is to hide both the conversation as well as proof of the relationship. Using something like lexical steganography, two malicious parties can communicate with each other in plain sight, without any connection linking them together. This is paramount when you're talking about building isolated terrorist cells; if one cell goes down, the bad guys don't want the government being able to connect it to other cells. Something like Twitter, which is mostly anonymous, is ideal for this kind of operation.

Paper and pencil (5, Insightful)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518997)

Sorry, but I get tired of these messages. Terrorists could potentially use paper and pencils to communicate too. Lets outlaw that too. The hammer and the screwdriver are terrible weapons. Let us outlaw anything that has a potential. And please start with my hands because they are the most lethal of all.

Common sense; it is so rare, it is a god damn superpower.

Re:Paper and pencil (5, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519081)


Hey, my descendents could be terrorists. Does that mean my balls can be classed as terrorist weapons? Maybe Bush, Blair and Cheney should get down there and have a look at them just in case.

I mean what the fucking Hell is it with people who consider Twitter a potential terrorist tool? And they're complaining that it's being used for disseminating extremist ideologies? Oh no - Bad Thoughts! We must eliminate Bad Thoughts.

Re: look (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25519757)

yep. get them to pass the law so we can kick theirs and call it civic duty.

Re:Paper and pencil (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519183)

Sorry, but I get tired of these messages. Terrorists could potentially use paper and pencils to communicate too.

Now that's just crazy talk. I've never seen anybody use those outside of historical reconstitutions.

Re:Paper and pencil (1)

Convector (897502) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519221)

Anything could be used as a terrorist tool. The ONLY possible solution therefore is the complete destruction of the entire Universe and everything in it. Anyone who disagrees is obviously in league with the terrorists.

Re:Paper and pencil (1)

Fumus (1258966) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519473)

And let's poke out every child's eye when they are born. 3D vision is a deadly asset.

I know what the real problem is! (1)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519479)

All terrorists were once little kids. Therefore, we should ban little kids. There, Problem solves once and for all.

Terror...? (4, Funny)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518999)


Maybe if you define terror as "really, really irritating."

Re:Terror...? (2, Interesting)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519225)

Well... this is the first time I'd be willing to go along with the Security Theater.

I'm sure this is just yet another cheap viral marketing scam by Twitter. Get restricted = seem cool, fashionable and necessary. I don't approve of calling everything (or indeed, pretty much anything) a terrorist threat, but in this case if the net result is no more Twitter... then Military, please go right ahead.

I'm sure Twitter could actually be useful if it wasn't run and marketed by a total bunch of jerks, desperately trying to get rich off a quick buyout.

When computers are outlawed-- (3, Insightful)

HycoWhit (833923) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519001)

When computers are outlawed, only outlaws will have computers!! All this new fangled technology that old, white men don't understand needs to be banned!

Re:When computers are outlawed-- (1, Insightful)

hazem (472289) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519523)

When computers are outlawed, only outlaws will have computers!!

That reminds me that the US has (or had) tight restrictions on what kinds of computer technology could be exported to "countries we don't like". They were regulated under "Arms Control" because they could be used to do nuclear weapons simulations and difficult-to-crack cryptography. The limits were at one point low enough that some game consoles qualified for the restrictions.

Seems to me that then makes computers something that can be protected under the 2nd amendment. If they're regulated under "arms control" then they must be "arms" that are clearly covered by "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed".

And with the recent supreme court case that determined that it is indeed a "individual right" and not a "collective right" then I think we USians may actually get to keep our computers...

SMS? (3, Insightful)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519011)

I'm sure the bad guys haven't figured out how to send an SMS to several numbers on disposable phones. ~

Re:SMS? (3, Insightful)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519151)

Well, personally I very much doubt it'll ever happen, but in the interests of balance I must point out that the UK Govt. recently floated a trial balloon about demanding primary ID for mobile phone purchases [theregister.co.uk] ...

You've got to be kidding me (2, Insightful)

wilhelm (5091) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519013)

Just wait until the government figures out that terrorists use the US Mail for their terrorist activities. Whatever will we do then? Won't somebody please think of the children?

If there is a method of communication, the probability of these ubiquitous "terrorists" using it for communication are pretty close to 1. File this story under "duh".

FP?

Re:You've got to be kidding me (4, Insightful)

shawb (16347) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519175)

And the US Mail can be used to spread Anthrax! That's biological terrorism or copyright violation either way!>

But seriously, it would surprise me if twitter was NOT already being monitored en masse by the NSA. Not only is there the potential for catching actual terrorist communication, but merely analyzing the patterns in which tweets are sent could be a quick alert that some sort of sudden disaster is occuring... whether natural disaster like an earthquake, an accidental explosion in an industrial location, or a terrorist activity. It may be possibly to analyze the data to pinpoint the location of an event by where the tweets are sent from without having to even read the contents. Sure, there would be potential for abuse of such monitoring, but there would be potential for early warning which just may allow for cleanup and relief efforts to arrive that much quicker and better informed. It wouldn't be about the tool, it would be about who has access to it.

Why Doesn't The Military Simply.. (4, Insightful)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519031)

Why doesn't the military simply save itself a lot of time and wasted effort and the rest of the people a ton of tax money and just simply report that any communications system from a wink or a semaphore to encrypted satellite communications could be used by bad guys, and that anything from a rock to a rocket could be a potential weapon?

Cheers!

Strat

Re:Why Doesn't The Military Simply.. (1)

ozbird (127571) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519603)

The point of these reports isn't to state the obvious, but to highlight specific capabilities to the decision makers, who decide what to do about it: nothing, monitor it, subvert it, bomb it. The latter process never gets reported because it a) doesn't get cheap laughs, and b) is probably classified.

"Military intelligence is a contradiction in terms." - Groucho Marx

Lord help us all! (5, Funny)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519057)

- Buying explosives. Thanks tom!
- Shaping explosvies.
- Milling bomb casing.
- Filling bomb casing.
- Rigging fuse. Hehe I made the + terminal blue instead of RED! That'll get'em!
- Putting bomb in suitcase. This new Ralph Lauren suitcase design is DYNOMITE! :D
- Getting in car. We sould really put some Al-Qaeda funds into something better than an 92 GeoMetro. This thing sucks.
- Leaving on Airplane. Phone off! ByeBye for now! Don't want to crash plane.
- Landed! The big apple awaits!
- Picked up food at McDonalds on third street. Mmmmmm McFlurry goodness.
- Bomb planted on 5th and James. They should make larger trashcans. Those things are TINY!1!
- Bored. Waiting at Starbucks. Prices are insane!

Why not be honest (3, Insightful)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519065)

The US Army views things through a certain lens where the major thing they consider about anything is "How will terrorists use it?" The truth is, there are nefarious ways to use almost everything, even a pencil. You can't prevent bad things from happening just by thinking up how they may happen. If someone wants to badly enough, they can achieve grand things. That goes for good and bad. It takes the apathy of many people, or even someone who may charm angsty groupies, or whatever. Why spend time being afraid and worrying about what may happen? We can't possibly take preventative measures against absolutely every manner of causing harm or allowing ingress. This isn't news, it's just the army doing their... "job" I guess...

Re:Why not be honest (5, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519199)

It is that - just the Army doing their job. Evaluation of security implications means analysis of capabilities. Is twitter capable of being used for nefarious purposes? Of course.

If you bother to read TFA you'll see that the same analysis is being applied to several other ubiquitous technologies including GPS.

This sort of thing is very routine; nothing to see here, move along.

Re:Why not be honest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25519319)

Well I didn't RTFA and I'm AC but if the US army didn't include themselves I say their list is incomplete. Unless of course the operative word is "possible".

Re:Why not be honest (2, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519313)

More to the point, the US intelligence community doesn't seem to have a very good track record when it comes to using information. The US used bad information to validate invading Iraq, after not listening to good information about terrorists who would like to use airplanes as missiles to attack the WTC.

Basically, after those and other brilliant blunders regarding information, I do not believe that the US government has any clue where it's collective ass is, never mind how to scratch it when it comes to terrorist activities and communications.

All of that assumes that 9/11 wasn't an inside job.

The truth of the matter is that any unlawful attempt or actual infringement of citizen's rights is nothing less than treason against the Constitution of the USA as established and amended up to this time. Those who would break the laws as established in order to provide security against a threat that is not proven to exist are warmongers and worse, they are criminal warmongers. Treason is not a class D misdemeanor people. We're talking about people that should be hung by the neck until dead... after a "fair gitmo trial" of course.

All this concern about terrorists. Please, please won't somebody show that they actually exist before infringing my rights? OBL is probably having trouble breathing for laughing so hard at how the current US government has done all his work for him.

Ah, the magic funding-word. (5, Insightful)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519067)

In chemistry, you can get funding for anything as long as you can relate it to cancer, no matter how tenuously.

"Terrorism" is the "cancer" of security folks -- magically gets them support and funding. Used to be Communism, but that is SO 20th century.

If we ever reach a state where we don't have anything to be afraid of, the security-freaks will have to invent something in order to keep their jobs. Oh, wait...

Re:Ah, the magic funding-word. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25519249)

Funding, of course, but also the "justification" for more power over the people:

"Twitter is already used by some members to post and/or support extremist ideologies and perspectives", the report said

Extremist ideoligies such as freedom of speech, freedom to move about unrestricted, freedom from arbitrary search and seizure, and of course the most extremist of all ideologies: limits on government power and government revenue. These will all have to be monitored to keep the radicals from compromising the power pyramid, without which society would collapse.

Everyone is plotting against you (1)

Black Art (3335) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519073)

Every tool of communication can be used to plot against the government.

It used to be that all they had to do was tap your land-line phones and read your mail. Now they have to tap your phones, fax, text messages, in-game chats, web pages, e-mail, viral videos, and the secret messages contained in your spam.

The more options of communication you have, the more chances you have to be plotting against them.

Obviously you must be stopped while they still can.

They bring new meaning to the term "Communications Tool".

Re:Everyone is plotting against you (1)

plover (150551) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519299)

They bring new meaning to the term "Communications Tool".

I thought the official Communications Tool was Dana Perino [wikipedia.org] .

Just wait (1)

Gorgonzolanoid (1394311) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519083)

Just wait till they discover slashdot. Not only a communications means for terrorists, it's a goddam weapon that can make entire websites grind to a halt.

By Terrorist... (0, Troll)

Anik315 (585913) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519095)

They, of course, they mean anything critical of U.S. government or U.S. policy. By insurgent, they mean Democrat... It doesn't matter anyway, Democrats will win. Democrats will destroy Republicans this fall. We won. And we will keep winning. So shut your racist face.

Re:By Terrorist... (1)

mdmkolbe (944892) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519355)

In other words, by next spring it will be "by insurgent, they mean Republican".

Re:By Terrorist... (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519449)

My condolences for the integrity of your party, which has reached such a low point point that any attack on its would-be President is dismissed as motivated-by-racism.

P.S. Crying victory in advance of the election like you and your party's campaign have been doing -- may be accurate, but is rather rude and disrespectful to the American electorate and electoral process.

Good grief. (-1, Redundant)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519101)

>>>Twitter as a potential terrorist tool.

Judas Priest. And I imagine they are discussing those so-called "domestic terrorists" who believe such wacky ideas like "Don't Tread on Me", or that the Constitution is the Supreme Law, or that Human Rights are inalienable, or that juries have the power to nullify prosecution brought against innocent persons. ( http://www.pa-aware.org/who-are-terrorists/domestic-6.asp [pa-aware.org] )

Re:Good grief. (1)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519149)

>>>Twitter as a potential terrorist tool.
Judas Priest.

What does Twitter have to do with a 80's hair band?

Re:Good grief. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25519247)

Judas Priest was not a hair band. Either you're trolling or you were born in 1995.

Why don't you go to the playground and try what James Vance took two tries to accomplish.

in a related story (2, Funny)

gearloos (816828) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519109)

Homeland securit bans use of all telephones. Cites device could be used for communication.

You know... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519125)

Our approach to finding terrorist "operational tools" seems to be almost identical to our approach to finding patentable "methods".
Everybody remember the ghastly rash of patents of the form "*yada, yada, something obvious and already common* On the Internet!"? It appears that we are going through the same thing here. Today it is Terrorism, on Twitter!, a while back it was Terrorism, on Wow!, even Terrorism, hidden in kiddie porn!(the ultimate in integrated police state rationalizations. Proposed in Britain, of course. I wish I were kidding [schneier.com] ).

Terrorism is a threat, albeit an absurdly and dangerously overhyped one; but all this stuff about "OMG TERRORISTS USING $COMMUNICATION_TOOL!" is just stupid(or aimed at laying the groundwork for controlling $COMMUNICATION_TOOL; but our Heroic and Patriotic leaders would never do that). Obviously terrorists need to communicate, obviously they'll use whatever happens to fit their needs, which probably means almost exactly the same things as any other criminal enterprise.

Free Speech = Terrorism (2, Insightful)

dcollins (135727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519133)

'Nuff said.

s/twitter/brains/g (1)

MadHakish (675408) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519137)

As Possible Terrorist "Operation Tool" "A draft US Army intelligence report has identified the popular thinking device, a "Brain", as a potential terrorist tool. A chapter titled 'Potential for Terrorist Use of Brains' notes that brain users reported the July Los Angeles earthquake faster than news outlets and activists at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis used it to provide information on police movements. Brains are already used by some members to think of and/or support extremist ideologies and perspectives,' the report said. The report goes on to say, 'Terrorists could theoretically use their brains in the US as an operation tool.'

And in other news... (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519143)

The military discovers that human speech may be used to transfer terrorist information and requests that all non authorized speech be banned.

They wont be happy until every second of everyones day is tracked, and they have a way to scan your brain daily for 'subversive thoughts'.

Hey US Army (3, Insightful)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519145)

Terrorists can use TXT messages too... and guess what... TXT messages are more secure than Twitter.

"Terrorist enthusiasts" (3, Interesting)

interiot (50685) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519161)

"Terrorists may or may not be using voice-changing software but it should be of open source interest that online terrorist and/or terrorist enthusiasts are discussing it."

So there are terrorist fanbois online now too? By definition, a terrorist is someone engaged in asymmetric warfare, i.e. one of their main advantages is stealth/secrecy, so it's hard to see how someone would be an enthusiastic promoter of it in public. "Terrorist enthusiast" is such an odd turn of phrase that almost all hits [google.com] are for this article itself.

Re:"Terrorist enthusiasts" (4, Funny)

Indefinite, Ephemera (970817) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519295)

They were enthusiasts while it was still underground, and would be disappointed to see it going mainstream.

uh oh (1)

belal1 (981326) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519173)

wait till they find out about GPG and TOR.... and dare I say it.... Linux.

Surely this is an overreaction? (3, Funny)

GBC (981160) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519179)

I know he supposedly has a lot of sockpuppets, but calling Twitter a possible terrorist operation tool is a bit much, isn't it?

Re:Surely this is an overreaction? (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519333)

Airplanes, /. threads...it's all hijacking.

Neurons! (1)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519189)

A joint committee between DARPA, Homeland Security, the CIA, NSA, FBI and BATF to day reported scientific findings supporting prior suspicions that neurons are a potential terrorist tool. The blue-ribbon committee recommends HLS licensing the expression of genes for BDNF as a precaution.

Never mind the Ruttles (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25519237)

If this story is alleging that twitter is useful for something, then I call bullshit on the whole thing.

Don't forget (2, Insightful)

consonant (896763) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519253)

/. is a terrorist haven! All you have to do is browse at -1 on all Apple/Google/Nintendo stories!

Hey Osama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25519315)

ICQ

Doublespeak (0, Troll)

Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519321)

From TFA: Twitter is already used by some members to post and/or support extremist ideologies and perspectives..

According to our current NeoCon government: 'extremist ideologies and perspectives' == anything that criticizes our regime, or that we otherwise don't agree with.

Vote for Obama. Why? Two reasons:

  1. This can no longer be a country for Old White Men, and (unfortunately)
  2. We don't have any other choice

P.S.: Go ahead and mod me down to -1, Troll|Flamebait|$whatever. Doesn't change my opinion OR invalidate what I'm saying, and it sure as hell doesn't make you right, bitches. At least I have the guts to make a post like this as myself and not as Anonymous Coward.

Bankrupting America for "perfect" safety (4, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519347)

I can't place the name or even the time period, but there's a quote floating around in my head about the dangers of seeking "perfect" safety. The analogy goes something like this: you could build a perfectly safe transportation system that carried zero risk, but by the time you were done building it, you couldn't afford the fuel to go where you wanted.

The exploitation of paranoia in our society has led us to spending over 5 trillion dollars on military and wartime budgets since 9/11. Are we any safer? The answer is, no; even the most hard line hawk must admit that there is no way to protect America from all future terrorist attacks. Even if it's preventing terrorist attacks now, it's only delaying them. Instead of a gang of Saudis, next time it will be a gang of Iraqis, pissed off for the same reason: infidel influence in their home country. So, we can continue meddling in Arab affairs -- you can see how well that has gone -- or we can remove our resources from the middle east, spend them on complete energy independence, and continue our far more effective foreign intelligence services. And then we could do something amazing: actually listen to what they are saying.

The best litmus test for me is to take press releases and news items from my own government, and imagine it was instead a Soviet-era communique from the state news agency. If it even passes the laugh test, I give it some thought, but most of the time, the thought experiment reveals the propaganda for what it is: completely transparent bullshit.

Re:Bankrupting America for "perfect" safety (1)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519763)

Mebbe you've been curled up in the university library for the last two months, but America's managed to go bankrupt quite satisfactorily without needing to spend trillions on "homeland security". (billions, sure, and it's not helped, but that's a drop in the ocean compared to a ginormous asset price bubble.)

RT @304thMIbattalion: Twitter terrorist weapon (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519383)

OMG, Onoez, Sunday [today.com] -- A report by the US Army 304th Military Intelligence Battalion identifies Internet technologies such as Twitter as potential TERRORIST tools.

Twitter users reported the July Los Angeles earthquake faster than news outlets, and TERRORISTS protesting at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis used it to provide information on police movements.

Other technologies were also examined for their TERRORIST uses. "Email could be used for TERRORIST messages, the anonymous troll comments on Slashdot could be used for TERRORIST data exchange and GPS trackers could be used to find our asses. We are also examining the dangers of YouTube pratfall videos, cat macros and pencils and paper.

"There is terrible, terrible danger that if people can communicate they may say something TERRORIST," said the report. "As such, our forces have secured the offices of Twitter and its financial backers are awaiting trial for funding TERRORIâ""

The report cut off at this point, replaced with a Fail Whale.

Why would twitter NOT be on the list? (3, Funny)

tezza (539307) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519385)

Surely this list is an enumeration of ALL communication possibilities? Twitter has communication possibility, therefore deserves to be on the list amongst:

* Smoke signals
* Pigeon Carriers
* Coded Letters
* Invisible Ink Letters
* Text Messages
* Mobile Phone Calls
* Emails
* Slashdot posts
* Twitter

This is it! (5, Funny)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519393)

We finally have an excuse to ban Twitter and send him and his sockpuppets to Gitmo!

Calm down, folks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25519395)

Is it possible to use Twitter for the stated purpose? yes.
Is it possible to use GPS as well (as also mentioned in the article)? yes.
Is it possible to use a steel-toed shoe for nefarious ends? yes.

Intelligence services have to identify all possible sources of intel first before they can start gathering info from them. They are hardly fools for stating the obvious (scientists do it all the time). If you have a problem with how much they gather, that we can talk about. But getting upset because they say that Twitter is a place they should be looking? Give me a break.

Military Officers Should Not Play Politics. (0, Troll)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519399)

While I am glad that our armed services evaluate all threat pathways (even obvious ones), I am offended when our officers try to impact a political agenda, as was done in this case.

This is an obvious attempt to pander to fear to increase military appropriations or otherwise alter civilian behavior. The officers in question here should have made their report to their commanders. The commanders could then refer their report to their civilian superiors. The civilian superiors ought then make all decisions about disclosure.

This is simply military involvement in the politics of speech--and it is entirely unwarranted. Military officers must stay out of politics.

Why is US army concerned about Terrorism in US? (1, Offtopic)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519421)

Last time I checked combating terrorism in the US is not their fuckin' job. That's what Law Enforcement does. I think posting few of their guardsmen at the airports went a bit to their heads.

And not only that... (3, Insightful)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519427)

Here's a (still incomplete) list of other potential Terrorist Operation Tools:
  • Email
  • Telephones
  • Pagers, especially 2-way
  • Walkie-talkies

...and other than communications...

  • Microcontrollers
  • Model rockets / rocket engines
  • Gasoline
  • Model airplanes
  • Kites
  • String
  • Pocket knives
  • Tools of any kind
  • Books
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Paper

You guys had better get cracking; this is a lot of stuff to ban! Them terr'rists are out to git us, and Wal-Mart, Target, Office Depot, Radio Shack, and other seemingly American stores are helping them out!!

The bigger picture (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25519443)

Reading between the lines, its not Twitter as a terrorist operations tool, but rather, Twitter as a method to dispersing information faster than government sanctioned sources.

This being said, when the hell did the country of liberty and freedom become such a fk-ing police state?

What Could They Possibly Do? (2, Insightful)

Rie Beam (632299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519455)

Honestly. All this is is a single expression of the huge networking of computers we call "The Internet". Even if they found a bizarre way to shut down Twitter, confiscate the servers, etc, there is nothing that cannot prevent a competing service from filling the role. After awhile, it leaves only one option.

Go home. Internet's closed.

Re:What Could They Possibly Do? (2, Funny)

Gorgonzolanoid (1394311) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519655)

Shut down the internet, and the phone company, and lock up all possessors of walkie talkies at Guantanamo Bay.

Reminds me of something I read not long after 9/11, never knew if it started as a joke or not, but it did make it to an article on a (European) newspaper's website.

Some of Bin Laden's boys had acquired a large number of cell phones (in France, the article said), and changed phones almost daily to avoid being tracked. They got caught because they kept using the same SIM cards.

and in other newzzz... (2, Funny)

zogger (617870) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519465)

..US intel agencies have prepared another draft document that identifies other potential terrorist tools

Shovels-they can be used to plant bombs

Wheelbarrows-transport the bombs

sneakers-terrorists could be using sneakers on their feet to make it easy to walk around on the ground

clothing-terrorists could be wearing clothing so they could "blend in" with the civilian population and sneak around

talking to people-terrorists could infiltrate and meet each other and "talk"-communicate-with other terrorists

cars-terrorists, having blended into the civilian population, might use "cars" as transportation so they can go meet other terrorists and "talk"

grocery stores-terrorists might make use of grocery stores as part of a long supply train in order to get "food" for themselves and other terrorists in their secret underground cells

public drinking fountains-water is a necessity for terrorist operations, so they might make use of public drinking fountains and garner unauthorized water supplies

money-terrorists could make use of cash money in order to purchase supplies that they could use for terrorist operations, such as sneakers, clothing, shovels, wheelbarrows, food, etc

pencils and paper-terrorists might make use of easily available pencils and paper on the rogue "underground" black market, and use these devices as a communications medium. The report also suggests closing the "department store loophole" in order to combat this threat

videogames-terrorists might make use of videogames as a cheap way to get assymetrical warfare training, and to indoctrinate and brainwash their cadre into risking armed violent attacks by portraying it as "normal" and something that the civilian population would support. Some notice has been made by "deep cover" agents that the game "America's Army" apparently is a favorite with terrorists

sporting events=sporting events have been identified as a favorite terrorist meeting area, where they can get together and "talk"-or communicate- and engage in psychological "pumping up" efforts in order to bolster courage before going out on terrorism operations. Long range surveillance has noted that they "Chant" various phrases like "Kill 'em!" and "De-fense! De-fense!" and will also engage in ritualistic "hooting" which appears to be a secret call sign that identifies terrorists to their appropriate cell members. Different cells have different names, and the chants change to identify them.

It has been noted that some terrorists are male, and some are female, and they can come in all ages, so the modern warfighter has to take note when they see individuals or groups that are made up of males or females or combinations of such.

Tweet Threat Level (1)

bunhed (208100) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519489)

Government agencies said the TTL (Tweet Threat Level or Time To Live) rose to an unprecedented, red-zone high today when members of a fringe terrorist organization all were doing their laundry and tweeting at the same time about how bored they were. News at 11!

They fail to understand its potential usefulness (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519501)

Hopefully military intelligence will come to realize how powerful a tool Twitter can be.

Having, at one time, subscribed to various peoples' Twitter posts... forcing a Gitmo detainee to read Twitter feeds for a few hours will certainly force them into a more compliant state. They'll tell us anything they know just to get away from it.

Get a grip, folks- please! (0, Troll)

purduephotog (218304) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519541)

I was fine with the synopsis up until this line: "Just wait until the Army finds out about chat rooms and email!". Seriously- who added the commentary? Folks at /.? The submitter? The Admin?

Believe it or not, there are individuals that exist only to inflict pain on someone else. The job of the military is to prevent that. Most of the posts here are railing *against* a military that has, by popular doctrine and re-election, done what it has been instructed to do.

Now there are also government agencies that exist to evaluate threats and to think up ways of protecting your average American citizen. It takes some of the best and the brightest- even those that DO NOT WANT THIS WAR- and instructs them to come up with ways that someone may abuse a new technology to cause harm. They do so. And it turns out there is a tool that could be exploited, in real time, via phone, to bring pain and suffering to individuals.

Why bash them for this? My god don't you believe they'd rather hope for the best in people? You mock them for doing their duty to keep the country safe.

another attempt to vilify free communication (2, Insightful)

moxley (895517) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519551)

Seems to me (these days) that the US Army is a potential terrorist tool....

Oh come on! (2, Funny)

Godji (957148) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519621)

We all know the guy's been annoying everyone on Slashdot, but a "terrorist operation tool"? That's waay overreacting. He just hates Microsoft, that all.

One they didn't think of (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519643)

I cut large letters into my backyard lawn spelling out a message.

Sometime later the satellites take a photo of it and include it in Google Earth.

Only my evil co-conspirators know where to go to look for it.

Hahahahahahaahaahaaaaaa!

And maybe smoke signals if we need more bandwidth and less latency in our "chatter".

We didn't really need another reason (3, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519645)

But if anyone was looking for another reason why the military shouldn't be involved in law enforcement and domestic intelligence gathering, this would be a good one to add to the list.

The military shouldn't be a precision tool of foreign policy or engaged in law enforcement or peace keeping. Their job is to break things and kill people. Intelligence gathering by the military should be limited to supporting that core mission. Anything else is up to the CIA and NSA. That's why we have them.

That's IT! That's what we have been missing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25519647)

Well, at least they know

Summary: If we allow free speech... (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519709)

The terrorists win.

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