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HomeEditorialOnce upon a time Hacking was a battling lingo — Part II

Once upon a time Hacking was a battling lingo — Part II

Ansar Al-Jihad Network’s website is another popular jihadi website that is accessible in Pakistan. The forum has been closed for membership but features videos, press releases, and discussion about the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. While one could not see the discussion on the forums, it is astounding to see the sheer number of videos that have been produced by the As-Sahab Foundation for Islamic Media Publication, Al-Qaeda’s media cell, featuring members of the Taliban that have been killed, or messages from current Taliban leaders fighting in Afghanistan and has archival footage of As-Sahab productions, with multiple links to download, for example, Ayman-Al-Zawahiri videos. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, one can even ask Mujahideen. The conditioning of young minds towards violence has rampaged.

Read Part 1 of this Editorial

The irony is that no such website is banned except a few by FBA. That these websites are accessible in Pakistan is of grave concern. Multiple terror attacks have wreaked havoc all over the country, and websites such as the ones mentioned above are not helping the security situation. It’s a problem of legality and understanding how active the religious ministry is. The religious ministry has to give information to the Information Ministry about them. Religion is such a sensitive issue, so it’s not clear when they’re about religion and when they’ve crossed over into extremism. There is also the question of freedom of expression and religious schools of thought. “Where do you draw the line between constitutional rights and religious freedom?”

While freedom of expression is a fundamental right and there may only be a small percentage of the population that is accessing these websites, there is a genuine fear among many that such websites could be used to indoctrinate the confused amongst the younger generation, who have access to the internet and are looking for a way to join a cause that may seem to be “the right way”. While a military operation continues in the tribal areas of the country and thousands have died in terror attacks and have been displaced due to the war, it is time for the government to redouble their efforts to block websites that are propagating hatred against religious sects and inciting violence against the people of Pakistan. Ban Jihadi websites in Pakistan; several jihadi organisations are once again at the forefront of flood relief efforts and this is how they gain the sympathy of the poor Muslims across the country. Another video from the “Muslim world” adds more evidence that Islamic violence and jihad are not some fringe elements. Neither interspersed with readings from the Quran and featured on Muslim blogs and boards nor is it some non-existent extremist or radical version of Islam. It’s the next generation of Mujahideen who are expected to fight and kill infidels to establish global Islamic rule. US lawmakers lamented their inability to shutter Internet websites set up by violent Islamist groups such as Al-Qaeda that aim to inspire, recruit and train would-be extremists. I don’t know how much money YouTube makes, how much its executives make, but they are endangering people throughout America for their own profit.

Bureaucratic wrangling and free speech advocates were the main obstacles to giving the US government legal tools to eliminate the sites. Sherman lashed out during the hearing at popular video-sharing website YouTube for allowing Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to post videos with English subtitles that promotes a “jihadist ideology” from its own channel.

No concerted government effort to shut down jihadist websites because there was no legal avenue that allows it. The best way to take them down is to go through blacklists maintained by the US Treasury and State Department for terrorist organisations, adding the approach would be difficult as authorities would have to verify the websites were maintained by those designated groups. There’s always a challenge between drawing the line between a merely informative speech and speech that facilitates a crime with the intent of doing so. The rise of extremist groups employing online media to attract followers and give tips on how to pursue jihad against targets was highlighted this year with the launch of an English-language Al-Qaeda magazine from AQAP — removing the language barrier for non-Arabic speakers to the group’s ideology. The first edition of “Inspire” magazine in June ran articles such as one entitled “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom” and featured sleek pictures of Al-Qaeda leaders accompanied by sophisticated graphics.

The only avenue for pursuing extremists online was to pressure the Internet service that hosts their websites, and hope they voluntarily remove them. A Pennsylvania-based Web hosting service in July shut down a website used by some 70,000 bloggers after US law enforcement officials pointed out Al-Qaeda material on its platform. There are lots of such Extreme group Hindu sites, Christian sites and Khalsa sites openly booked on Indian domain too. The laws are stringent but excruciation is quite lethargic. Most of the time cyber cell cannot define online crime due to lack of up gradation in their knowledge. However, it urged that Internet users’ free speech and privacy rights be maintained. Not only is censorship inconsistent with Indian values, but it also is counterproductive to preventing extremist violence. There are critical constitutional limits even when it comes to fighting the so-called War on terror’ online.

(Any suggestions, comments or dispute with regards to this article send us on [email protected])

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Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 14 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazine Beyond The News (international). She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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