A new counter-terrorism document published by the British home secretary Theresa May has revealed how terrorist organizations like the Al-Qaida are exploiting the internet. According to the 123-page counter-terror report, last year, a special unit – called the Tariq bin Ziyad Brigades for Electronic Jihad, was established to attack computers.
Besides attempting to invade Facebook and spreading propaganda through websites, terrorists are now taking advantage of the internet to plan and co-ordinate attacks. Google Earth and Street View are two tools that were singled out by the report. Back in 2005, India’s then president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam had warned that Google Earth poses a security risk. Several other countries including South Korea and the Netherlands had also expressed concern. In fact, Indian security agencies believe that Google Earth was employed by the terrorists behind the shocking 26/11 Mumbai attacks in 2008.
Street View is a relatively new addition to Google’s mapping tools, which provides highly detailed on-the-ground pictures of any location that has been mapped. It has already run into trouble the European Union and several countries including India, Australia, and Germany due to allegations of snooping and privacy violations. The latest revelations will probably strengthen the opposition against this controversial project.