Hacking and politics have contrived to make strange bedfellows. According to a report by the British news organization, The Sun, hackers have come forward and started to take down web sites which are fomenting terrorism, and inciting terrorist acts – something which the government cannot do with any sort of haste, if at all.
Neil Doyle, a British investigative journalist, and author of the book Terror Tracker, explained that “The role of patriotic hackers in taking down extremists websites is clouded in deep secrecy, as it is illegal,” adding that “The simple rule of thumb is that if a site has gone down quickly, maybe within minutes or hours after first being identified, it’s likely to be hackers. Hosting companies and the authorities are usually slow to react and often nothing can be done, unless there’s been a clear breach of the law.”
Many believe that al-Qaeda is using the Internet to communicate with cells, foment unrest and terrorist activities, and recruit new members – and quite successfully by all accounts.
Doyle said that it is also believed that al-Qaeda’s master hacker has been operating out of London for some time. “Britain is al-Qaeda’s central communications hub and much of its online activities are co-ordinated from here,” he said.
There was a time when the UK was also considered prime real estate for hosting hate and terror websites, however as pressure has grown on the web hosting providers to take down such sites, many of the sites have moved to web hosting providers in the United States where, The Sun reports, “the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says that it would be ‘unconstitutional’ and against the US constitution’s First Amendment on freedom of speech if they were to pressure the hosting companies.”
Oh, the irony.