The New Digital Age: The Future of Revolution
The New Digital Age: The Future of Conflict

The New Digital Age: The Future of Terrorism

They predict the "proliferation of sophisticated homemade explosive devices."  This was written before Boston, of course.  They predict that bombing-making will not be something you need an organization or only an expert for.  I wonder if the media and investigators have read this, as it seems that so many people are puzzled by the idea that the Tsarnaev brothers could have manufactured their own bomb.

Their big worry though is "everyman drones."  Even remote-control toys can become drones.  They imagine a number of frightening scenarios, including those that combine physical drones and cyberattacks to bring down response systems.  They believe scenarios like those they describe are inevitable.

"There will be fewer terrorist masterminds altogether.  But those that do exist will be even more dangerous."  Traditional solutions will be increasingly ineffective at responding to terror and more likely to generate more terrorists (as we've already seen in the last 20 years).

Intelligence communities will need to find ways to reach out to and recruit hackers, a group notoriously non-conformist.  They have some hope that this will be difficult for rogue states and terrorist groups.

An irony of Bin Laden's capture is that it was "his lack of Internet access in a large urban home that helped identify him."  Though being on-line would have made him even more easily discoverable.

"The silver lining of cyber terrorism is that, in almost every way, its practitioners will have less room for error. . . .  It takes only one mistake or weak link to compromise an entire network."

They imagine that in the future, governments will not allow, or at least not like, for people to be hidden, and that unconnected people will be on a list that will receive greater scrutiny at airports, etc., because the government will worry what people have to hide.  

So, if you are frightened by this book, and think you should stay or get off-line.  Well, that might not work.

"The only remedies for potential digital tyranny are to strengthen legal institutions and to encourage civil society to remain active and wise to potential abuses of this power."

Technological engagement should lead to more open societies, and be a way of dissuading people from becoming radicalized.  This is their hope for the 52% of world population which is under 30, a vast majority of whom are "socioeconomically at risk."  General Stanley McChrystal said, "What defeats terrorism is really two things.  It's rule of law and then it's opportunity for people."


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