Monday, September 11, 2006

The Future of Terrorism: Beyond 9/11.

Five years ago today I was working as a temp at the Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology (I think that's what it was called). I remember hearing a rumour about a plane hitting the World Trade Center. Probably a Cessna, I thought. Weird, but not unheard of.

Then the details came slowly but surely and I was glued to MSNBC for the rest of the day until we were finally able to leave.

No, it doesn't seem like yesterday, but five years? A sixth of my life? Time flies.

So where are we now? Where did we think we'd be, five years ago, by this point? Safer? Terror-free?

The War on Terror is an interminable battle, with no victory possible. That's because terrorism cannot be defined merely by the combatants. You could wipe the Middle East off the face of the Earth and terrorism would survive. It doesn't belong to any one government or region.

Terrorism is simply war by other means. It's the poor man's battle ground. Eradicate Islam (no, I'm not even coming close to suggesting that) and you'd still have someone, somewhere willing to kill to oppose an unjust power.

Timothy McVeigh, the IRA, South American guerrillas, Chechnyan separatists...

Madmen? Freedom fighters? Terrorists?


So, since terrorism won't go away, let's try to figure out where it's headed. For a very long time, the answer has seemed obvious to me, and a Boingboing link reminded me.

"Second Life has disclosed that an intruder broke into the Second Life database through the company's web servers -- and customer information was compromised. Potentially exposed data included Second Life account names, real-world names and contact information, and encrypted account passwords and payment info. To minimize risk, the company has invalidated all account passwords. Users will have to create new passwords in order to log in."

Hasn't anyone seen the ending to Fight Club? We're becoming so dependent upon digital/internet/electronic formats for communication/banking/daily life stuff that at some point the target will be way too juicy to pass up. Why train to become a pilot and run the risk of exposing your network when you can wreak havoc from a Lazy-boy?

Don't get me wrong: I'm not trying to give anyone ideas here, just slapping a few people in the face who put too much faith in the electronic establishment and might need a wake up call. The other day I got an invite from Rogers that would mean paying my bills via internet alone, with no more paper bills - uh... no thanks. If some shmo can steal your Second Life ID, think what a really motivated hacker/terrorist could do with a few million bank accounts.

Can you spell "economic anarchy"?

Man, I really hope I'm not re-reading this blog five years from now...

- Chicken Little.

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