Terrorism is one of the biggest security headaches in our time. Of recent there seems to be a wave of senseless killings of people for one political excuse or the other.
The value of a life has depreciated with people getting killed seemingly with reckless abandon. While the roots of terror groups makes for a narrative with complexity and therefore is a pursuit whose end begs more questions than supplying answers, the effects are clear for all to see.
Research shows that for terror groups to survive, there is a need for broadcasting of their acts, an ideology to justify their actions, preconditions for the stop of the heinous acts of terror as well as a way through which to gain followers, support and recruits.
The internet is potentially capable of facilitating all these. Consequently there have been suggestions that the internet is a causal factor in terrorism. But is that an accurate assertion?
Research was recently conducted in Canada with the aim being finding out just how culpable the internet is in as far as aiding and abetting terrorism. The findings of the study showed that the internet indeed does aid terrorism.
This is because as a medium for global communication, there is no way to stop people from uploading content that advances the cause of terrorist. As such organizations such as ISIS are able to not only broadcast their heinous acts but also gain followers and recruits from as far away as North America. The internet allows for the spreading of the justifying narrative and later more indoctrinating material to potential recruits.
That said, the internet does not play a causal role in terrorism. There is nothing native to the internet that makes it a causal factor in acts of terror. The mere fact that there are facilities for social interaction are enhanced online is not sufficient for the internet to qualify as a causal factor.
Therefore, the reality according to the study is that the internet aids the cause of those who seek to cause terror but it is not capable of being the spark that leads to acts of terror.
The opposing opinion that the internet is a causal factor then lends credibility and moral authority to mass surveillance since there is no easy way to point out terrorists online. That cannot be easily done. As of now, the internet does play a role in terrorism but it does not play a role strong enough to be rated as a causal factor.