The same Internet that Islamic extremists use to whip up fury against the West can be used by more moderate forces to counter that extremism, according to a new Rand Corp. report. The report (.pdf) notes that American Muslims already use the web and social media to provide an opposing voice to and undercut extremists.
Jihadists are increasingly turning to social media sites to exchange ideas and publicize their beliefs, according to a new report (.pdf) from the New America Foundation. "It is only a matter of time before terrorists begin routinely using Twitter, Instagram, and other services in ongoing operations."
Al Shabaab has used Twitter largely to promote its preferred narrative of world events, research out of the University of Maryland says. The university's National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism released interim findings (.pdf) about the group's use of Twitter shortly after the website suspended al-Shabaab's account, @HSMPress, on Jan. 25.
Growing government inquiries are having "serious chilling" effects on free expression and tangible privacy implications, says Twitter's manager of legal policy Jeremy Kessel in a Jan. 28 blog post. Over the past year, Twitter received 1,858 government requests for user information worldwide and 48 government requests to withhold content, according to the company's new transparency report.
The document doesn't address CIO authorities--and a September 2011 Government Accountability Office report noted that agency CIOs "are limited in their ability to ensure appropriate IT staff are being hired to meet mission needs."
Social media made it easier for government opponents in Egypt and Tunisia to mobilize mass support during protests in late 2010 and 2011 that became known as the Arab Spring, says a paper spearheaded by Australian academics. But social media wasn't the proximal cause for the fall of regimes in North African countries, nor did social media create the challenges the Arab Spring was to those governments, says the paper, to be published in Political Psychology.
President Obama signed into law Jan. 10 a bill making it easy for individuals to share their movie rental history online – a measure the Senate Judiciary Committee had hoped would also require law enforcement to obtain a warrant to examine emails and other long-term stored electronic communications, but which in the end did not.
Despite the Obama administration's Digital Government Strategy, the use of digital platforms is "by no means standard across the government" with some federal employees still prohibited from accessing social media sites, according to a new report. "Program managers who lag cannot expect that doing things the way they have always done them will continue to be effective in the new environment," it chides.
The available research on social media use during disasters fails to account for the type of social media, says a report from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. START also says that existing research doesn't compare social media use during different kinds of disasters.
Federal agencies can join the legion of amateur cooks and interior designers in posting photos to Pinterest now that the social media site has added federally friendly terms of service, the General Services Administration announced Jan. 8.