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Home > Tech Views > General Computing

Friday, January 28, 2005
Technology and Terrorism

1. Page 1

TV reports throughout the world about the technology tools probably used by the terrorists in their effort to execute their hideous attack against the USA are sensational. Firstly, their communications must have been encoded to a point that intelligence services all over the world did not have the slightest idea that a criminal act of so grand a scale was on the way to be executed. We have heard from extravagant tools that can hide messages within the photographic images’ dots (stenography), satellite mobiles that encode communication and so on.

All these technologies are existent as well as widespread-even the mobiles we, simple citizens use nowadays encode our conversation, still in a relatively simple way, so that absolute security is not offered. The issue immediately raised is how and why such technologies have been released in the market, since the fact that they are to be used by bloodthirsty terrorists to assassinate thousands of people, is certain. The question of dangerous technology is a fair, yet a simplistic one.

The first issue one has to think about is that once a technology is born, there is no way for it to be restricted on a long-term basis. It is knowledge, and knowledge cannot be stopped with wire fences. Even in the event of technology diffusion being restricted by law, its possession by criminals cannot be prevented, and that constitutes another problem. They are in possession of the means and of the financial support to acquire it: “ if cryptography becomes a felony, only those able to commit it will be capable of having it”, said someone.

The second question that has to be raised is, “to what extent should we accept “dangerous” technology ban? Should that be Cryptography? Should that be Flight Simulation Programs? (let us not forget that it is quite possible that the terrorists had been trained as to how to approach their targets using the Microsoft Flight Simulator program, one amongst the most common programs in the world.) On the other side, if one comes to think about it, the technological instrument utilized to drag thousands of people to the realms of Armageddon was the complicated yet common jet plane. Do we also have to ban flight technology?

William Gibson had written, “Gutter is able to track down its own ways to utilize any kind of technology”. Issuing bans of any kind has not been a solution to any problem. It just creates delusions of safety…


By Pashos Mandravelis.

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