CyberLaw Blog

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Archive for the ‘terrorism’ Category

Wikileaks lists ‘targets for terror’ against US | The Australian

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Wikileaks lists ‘targets for terror’ against US | The Australian: “Wikileaks lists ‘targets for terror’ against US

* Deborah Haynes, Alexi Mostrous and Giles Whittell
* From: Times Online
* December 06, 2010 3:45PM

WIKILEAKS raised the stakes in its battle with America last night by releasing a secret list of all the global industries and assets that the US most wishes to protect.

Security experts said that the cable, published by the whistleblower website as part of an unauthorised package of diplomatic correspondence, was a gift for terrorist organisations.

It spelt out hundreds of pipelines, undersea cables and factories across the world, including a number in Britain, that would cause most damage to US interests if destroyed.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, a former British Defence and Foreign Secretary and chairman of the Commons Intelligence and Security Committee, said WikiLeaks had made no credible attempt to find out whether the material could assist terrorists.

‘This is further evidence that they have been generally irresponsible, bordering on criminal. This is the kind of information terrorists are interested in knowing,’ he added.

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A spokesman for Downing Street condemned the unauthorised release of classified information, saying: ‘The leaks and their publication are damaging to national security in the United States, Britain and elsewhere.

‘It is vital that governments are able to co-operate on the basis of confidentiality of information.’

In Washington, Philip Crowley, Assistant Secretary of State, said: ‘There are strong and valid reasons information is classified, including critical infrastructure and key resources that are vital to the national and economic security of any country.

‘Julian Assange [the founder of WikiLeaks] may be directing his efforts at the United States but he is placing the interests of many countries and regions at risk. This is irresponsible.’

But WikiLeaks said that the document, approved by Hillary Clinton, provided further evidence that the US Administration was hoarding sensitive information on countries without their knowledge. The Secretary of State faced embarrassment after earlier cables revealed that US diplomats were asked to collect information on high-ranking UN diplomats and other individuals.

Kristinn Hrafnsson, a spokesman for the website, said: ‘This further undermines claims made by the US Government that its embassy officials do not play an intelligence-gathering role.

‘In terms of security issues, while this cable details the strategic importance of assets across the world, it does not give any information as to their exact locations, security measures, vulnerabilities or any similar factors, though it does reveal the US asked its diplomats to report back on these matters.’

US embassies were told to update a 2008 list of critical infrastructure and key resources in their host countries whose loss would ‘critically impact the public health, economic security and/or national and homeland security of the United States’, according to the leaked cable.

The order was under the direction of the Department for Homeland Security in co-ordination with the Department of State.

The cable said: ‘Department is surveying posts for their input on critical infrastructure and key resources within their host country which, if destroyed, disrupted or exploited, would likely have an immediate and deleterious effect on the United States.

‘Posts are not/not being asked to consult with host governments with respect to this request.’

The leaked document, written in February last year, gives Washington’s 2008 list of key infrastructure and resources overseas, naming each relevant country and its factories, railways, ports or other areas of interest.

The file identifies where the US is reliant on a range of substances, from smallpox vaccines in Denmark to bauxite in Guinea and liquefied natural gas in the Middle East. Several underwater pipelines are listed in Japan, China and Britain, while Indonesia is flagged up for its tin mines and Iraq for its oil.

The embassies are specifically asked not to include US government or ‘war-fighting’ facilities, but a number of defence-related sites are listed, including three in Britain run by BAE Systems.

A spokeswoman for the company said: ‘BAE Systems recognises its role as a custodian of key industrial and military assets. We would be concerned at any activity which comprises this.’

The British sites identified in the latest cable, which include a telecommunications hub in Hereford, and one end of an undersea cable that stretches from Cornwall to New York, were already in the public domain, but it was not helpful to have them listed as being of such importance to the US, added Sir Rifkind.

Colonel Richard Kemp, a retired army officer with experience of intelligence issues, felt that the revelations were highly irresponsible and could cost lives. ‘I think it’s obviously not a great thing to have that kind of information in the public domain. It just helps the terrorists to do their job. If terrorist groups are looking to attack the UK’s critical infrastructure then this has given them a big steer,’ he said.

But Mr Hrafnsson said that the cable – as with the rest of the quarter of a million documents that comprise the website’s diplomatic stash – was available to 2.5 million people, including civilian, military and private sector personnel.

‘[This is] a very wide distribution for information claimed to be of such high sensitivity,’ he said.

Twitter joke trial: Paul Chambers loses appeal against conviction | UK news | The Guardian

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Twitter joke trial: Paul Chambers loses appeal against conviction | UK news | The Guardian

Conviction for threatening to blow up airport in ‘foolish prank’ on Twitter will stand, court rules

* Martin Wainwright
* guardian.co.uk, Thursday 11 November 2010 16.20 GMT

The man convicted of ‘menace’ for threatening to blow up an airport in a Twitter joke has lost his appeal.

Paul Chambers, a 27-year-old accountant whose online courtship with another user of the microblogging site led to the ‘foolish prank’, had hoped that a crown court would dismiss his conviction and £1,000 fine without a full hearing.

But Judge Jacqueline Davies instead handed down a devastating finding at Doncaster which dismissed Chambers’s appeal on every count. After reading out his comment from the site – ‘Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!’ – she found that it contained menace and Chambers must have known that it might be taken seriously.

He was also saddled with a legal bill three times higher than his original £384 with £600 costs, as the court ordered him to pay a further £2,000 legal bill for the latest proceedings.

Chambers, who lost his financial manager’s job after his arrest in January, sent the message to a contact called @crazycolours, a young woman from Northern Ireland who was among 650 people who regularly followed his 140-character tweets.

They had arranged to meet in Belfast and Chambers told an earlier hearing he was desperate and frustrated that heavy snow might close Robin Hood, near Doncaster, and ruin their plans.

He used Twitter’s private service to joke with her late at night about hijacking a plane, noting wryly that its pilots might expect to be diverted to somewhere more exotic than Northern Ireland. But his facetious bomb threat was sent on the network’s public system, allowing anyone to see it – including staff at Robin Hood.

Chambers’s conviction this summer caused huge controversy both on Twitter itself and among civil liberties lawyers because of its implications for the cyberworld’s freewheeling style. The Crown Prosecution Service caused controversy by using a law aimed against nuisance calls – originally to protect ‘female telephonists at the Post Office’ in the 1930s – rather than specific bomb hoax legislation, which requires stronger evidence of intent.

Judge Davies refused a request by Ferguson to cut the sentence to an absolute or conditional discharge. She effectively branded Chambers a liar by calling his denials about realising the possible implications of the tweet incredible.

She told the court that he had been an ‘unimpressive witness’ and said: ‘Anyone in this country in the present climate of terrorist threats, especially at airports, could not be unaware of the possible consequences.’

She also described some of his earlier evidence as ’self-serving’ and cast doubt on his claims not to have kept up to date with current affairs through newspapers or TV. As for the tweet at the centre of the case, she called it ‘menacing in its content and obviously so. It could not be more clear. Any ordinary person reading this would see it in that way and be alarmed.’

Chambers and @crazycolours, who now live together in Northern Ireland, left court disconsolately and will now meet their legal team to consider a further appeal. The cost will be weighed against clearing Chambers’s name and the wider issues, which have caused an international debate on social networking sites.

Chambers said he was also aggrieved at the heavy-handed handling of his case, saying that he had been held for seven hours in a police cell. He said: ‘I wouldn’t have minded if they had told me off for being stupid, which was clearly how they saw things really, but it wasn’t like that.’

The wider implications were fanned by news of a second arrest under the same ‘nuisance call’ law of a Conservative councillor in Birmingham who posted a tweet crudely attacking the columnist Yasmin Alibhi-Brown. The post by Gareth Compton, now removed, reportedly said: ‘Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan’t tell Amnesty if you don’t. It would be a blessing, really.’

Compton, who represents Erdington on Birmingham city council, apologised after his release on bail and said: ‘It was an ill-conceived attempt at humour. I apologise for any offence caused. It was wholly unintentional.’

The tweet was criticised in the House of Commons by the Leader of the House, Sir George Young, who was asked to allow an emergency debate by Steve McCable, Labour MP for Selly Oak in Birmingham.

Young said: ‘Stoning to death is a barbarous form of punishment which the government, and I am sure every member of this House, deplores. I hope that no elected person will threaten any member of our society with that form of punishment.’

UK Counter-terror review to consider net jihadis

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Counter-terror review to consider net jihadis: “

Extremism filters back on agenda?

The government has today launched a review of its controversial ‘Prevent’ counter-terrorism strategy, which includes measures to tackle extremist material online.…

(Via The Register – Public Sector.)

Twitter joke martyr loses appeal

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Twitter joke martyr loses appeal: “

Chambers still stuffed by off-cuff non-threat

Updated Paul Chambers, the Twitter joker turned misdemeanour conviction martyr, has lost his appeal against conviction for posting a tongue-in-cheek message ‘threatening’ to blow Doncaster airport ’sky high’.…

(Via The Register – Public Sector.)

To tweet or not to tweet?

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Councillor’s tweet leads to arrest as airport joker loses appeal: “A Conservative councillor has been arrested over a Twitter post that called for the stoning of a journalist, while another Twitter user has lost his appeal over a conviction for a message that said he would blow up an airport.

(Via OUT-LAW News.)

YouTube Withdraws Cleric’s Videos

Friday, November 5th, 2010

YouTube Withdraws Cleric’s Videos: “American and British officials pressed for the removal of videos featuring calls to jihad by Anwar al-Awlaki.

(Via NYT > Technology.)

Government begins RIPA review

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Government begins RIPA review: “The Government will review the use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA), the law that governs state tapping of phone, email and internet use. The law will be looked at as part of a wider review of counter-terrorism laws.

(Via OUT-LAW News.)

Met issues internet cafe terror warnings

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Met issues internet cafe terror warnings: “

Your favourite jihadi porn site is inappropriate

The Met’s plan to counter terrorism by putting up posters in internet cafes has been put into action, with broad warnings against ‘inappropriate’ web and email use.…

(Via The Register – Public Sector.)

Metro.co.uk: Twitter responds as ‘joke’ bomber prepares to stand trial

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Only in the UK…..

Twitter responds as ‘joke’ bomber prepares to stand trial | Metro.co.uk: “Twitter responds as ‘joke’ bomber prepares to stand trial

10 May 2010

As Twitter user Paul Chambers prepares to stand trial over a ‘joke’ bomb threat on the micro-blogging site, others have been looking to raise awareness of the case using the #twitterjoketrial hashtag. “

26-year-old Chambers will go on trial today after allegedly posting a Tweet that threatened to blow an airport ’sky high’.

Chambers, of Balby, Doncaster, denied tweeting the message about Robin Hood Airport in Doncaster on January 6.

The post was picked up by routine investigations into the site, which lead to Chambers’ eventual arrest.

The alleged tweet read: ‘Robin Hood Airport is closed. You’ve got a week… otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!’

Twitter users have mounted a campaign to raise awareness of the trial, with #twitterjoketrial appearing high in the UK trending topics.

Messages of support have flooded in from fellow users, ranging from: ‘A misconceived prosecution against a Twitterer is now occurring: Please help trend #twitterjoketrial’ (@jackofkent) to ‘What angers me, almost as much as my friend’s life being flipped on it’s head, is the money the CPS have wasted on this. #twitterjoketrial’ (@tdotwells).

Chambers has pleaded not guilty to a charge of sending a message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character.

If convicted, Chambers could be the first person in the UK to face jail for comments posted on the micro-blogging site.

FOXNews.com – Terrorists Targeting Children Via Facebook, Twitter

Monday, April 12th, 2010

FOXNews.com – Terrorists Targeting Children Via Facebook, Twitter

Updated March 15, 2010
Terrorists Targeting Children Via Facebook, Twitter
FOXNews.com

The Internet grew 20 percent uglier last year, with terrorists and racists increasingly turning to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter — and targeting children, finds the 2010 Digital Hate Report.

The CD-ROM report, put out annually by the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Tolerance, aims to assist law enforcement, public officials, educators, parents and the news media to better grasp the scope of hate.

The report, based on some 11,500 problematic Web sites, social networks , chat forums, twitter posts, other Internet postings, found that hate-filled language is increasingly filling social networks. In compiling it, researchers for the Wiesenthal center found such disturbing online content as video footage showing bomb-making instructions and hate games — including one about bombing Haitian earthquake victims.

The report found a 20% increase to 11,500 in hate-filled social networks, Web sites, forums, blogs, Twitter feeds, and so on (up from 10,000 last year). It notes that beyond its role in our social lives, the Internet often acts as the incubator and validator of dangerous conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11 and organ theft.

The lone wolf terrorist, once primarily a domestic extremist character, is now a role heavily promoted by terrorist groups, found the 2010 Digital Hate Report.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center just released the Digital Terrorism and Hate 2010 report, identifying the Web’s most dangerous and offensive content. Here’s the Web’s worst sites.

The Wiesenthal Center uncovered expanded ‘how-to’ posts for terrorists, including binary and laser technology. And even more disturbing, the Center found hate games, including one inviting the user to bomb Haitian earthquake victims, continue to target young people

It’s all part of a trend of terrorists targeting young people, the report indicates, a finding supported by recent news reports. Over the weekend, FoxNews.com reported that the 6-year-old son of a Colorado nursing student who ran off to Europe to join a terrorist murder cell was brainwashed into a hate-filled Islamic fundamentalist zombie, his family said Saturday. Her family said she struck up an Internet friendship with a Colorado radical.

And court records and other documents show that Colleen LaRose — or ‘Jihad Jane’ — may have used YouTube as part of her alleged trail of terrorist activities.

The report was presented at a press conference at the New York Tolerance Center by Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal center, a pioneer in digital hate and terror, and Mark Weitzman, the center’s director of government affairs. Representative Carolyn Maloney joined in the unveiling as well.

The report is used by the FBI, Homeland Security, military officials, hate crime units and joint terrorism taskforces in the U.S. as well as Canada and Europe.