Wired magazine reports that US army inteligence has been studying how the micro-blogging tool Twitter could be used for possible militant purposes.
Quoting a recent presentation (put together on the Army’s 304th Military Intelligence Battalion and found on the Federation of the American Scientists website) it says a recent report focuses on some of the newer applications for mobile phones: digital maps, GPS locators, photo swappers, and Twitter mash-ups of it all.
Noah Shachtman’s article says the presentation lays out three possible scenarios in which Twitter could become a militant’s friend:
Scenario 1: Terrorist operative “A” uses Twitter with… a cell phone camera/video function to send back messages, and to receive messages, from the rest of his [group]… Other members of his [group] receive near real time updates (similar to the movement updates that were sent by activists at the RNC) on how, where, and the number of troops that are moving in order to conduct an ambush.
Scenario 2: Terrorist operative “A” has a mobile phone for Tweet messaging and for taking images. Operative “A” also has a separate mobile phone that is actually an explosive device and/or a suicide vest for remote detonation. Terrorist operative “B” has the detonator and a mobile to view “A’s” Tweets and images. This may allow ”B” to select the precise moment of remote detonation based on near real time movement and imagery that is being sent by “A.”
Scenario 3: Cyber Terrorist operative “A” finds U.S. [soldier] Smith’s Twitter account. Operative “A” joins Smith’s Tweets and begins to elicit information from Smith. This information is then used for… identity theft, hacking, and/or physical [attacks]. This scenario… has already been discussed for other social networking sites, such as My Space and/or Facebook.
Interesting to see that the expert analyst quoted goes on to dismiss these “Twitter threats” as something to keep a sense of propertion about.
But this report (even with the ”what are you doing? death to America” graphic) adds further weight to the growing reports on how the military is harnessing social media tools – a topic which I shall endeavour to keep track of through this blog.