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Terrorists could use Twitter for attacks, says US Intelligence

Antony Savvas

Twitter could be used to plan terrorist attacks says US Intelligence

The US intelligence community is concerned terrorists might use micro-blogging tool Twitter to coordinate attacks.

According to a draft Army intelligence report posted on the web, terrorists could use mobile and web technologies such as the global positioning system, digital maps and Twitter to plan and execute terrorist attacks

The report was produced by the 304th Military Intelligence Battalion and was posted to the Federation of American Scientists website.

A chapter titled "Potential for Terrorist Use of Twitter" includes general introductory information on Twitter and details on how it works.

It describes how Twitter was used to report details of a recent earthquake in Los Angeles ahead of established newswires, and by activists demonstrating at the Republican National Convention.

"Twitter has become a social activism tool for socialists, human rights groups, communists, vegetarians, anarchists, religious communities, atheists, political enthusiasts, hacktivists and others to communicate with each other, and to send messages to broader audiences," said the report.

The report then says that "Twitter is already used by some members to post and/or support extremist ideologies and perspectives.

"Extremist and terrorist use of Twitter could evolve over time to reflect tactics that are already evolving in use by hacktivists and activists for surveillance. This could theoretically be combined with targeting."

The report says Twitter could, theoretically, be used for planning ambushes or detonating explosives.

Past UK intelligence reports have expressed concern about voice over IP service Skype, which has been used by Taliban fighters in Afghanistan to disguise their location when phoning.

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Computer Weekly's Twitter feed >>

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