Information warfare: new battle fields Terrorists, propaganda and the Internet

Kathy Crilley (The Internet Studies Research Group, Department of Information Science, City University, Northampton Square, London, EC1V 0HB)

Aslib Proceedings

ISSN: 0001-253X

Publication date: 1 September 2001


Examines the use of the Internet by terrorists, extremists and activists. Analyses the methods employed by these various ideological groups and considers the advantages of using the Internet over traditional publishing and communication methods. Historically, extremists have used media of al kinds to as vehicles of propaganda, and have exploited new forms of communication over the years to put forward their views. Online extremists in the Internet age, perhaps was just a matter of course. Whatever the organisation, using the Internet has overcome the limitations of traditional publishing, offering a quick, inexpensive, and anonymous means of communication, and ideological information is reaching new audiences around the world. New threats of the twenty‐first century come from the extreme right wing environmentalists, neo‐nazis, animal rights groups and criminals who can exploit the technology and structure of the Internet. The term information warfare can mean the use of smart technology in a traditional war or the use of IT systems attacking a part of a country‘s infrastructure. The common fear appears to be the vulnerability of the latter. In some cases it appears the national laws cannot stem the tide of these emerging groups and governments are responding to this new threat with draconian measures by introducing electronic surveillance and interception to combat the increasing use of encryption favoured by terrorists and criminals alike. Governments have to strike a balance between freedom of speech on the other hand and the security of a country and its people on the other.



Crilley, K. (2001), "Information warfare: new battle fields Terrorists, propaganda and the Internet", Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 53 No. 7, pp. 250-264.

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Copyright © 2001, MCB UP Limited

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