About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

26 May 2014

Online Trust and Jihadi Forums

Back at RSA 2012, Mikko Hypponen gave a very interesting talk on the IT platforms used by various terrorist groups - not only Islamists, but also white supremacists etc. I have seen sporadic articles since, but most are quite superficial without much detail.

A fairly lengthy academic research paper on trust in online forums, specifically Islamist Jihadi forums is therefore quite impressive - not only in the breadth of the article's coverage; but also in the author's conclusions.That trust will be difficult to achieve, especially in an online forum about terrorism, is not hard to fathom; but the fact that overall trust has declined and been supplanted by social media is harder to understand (although the period of research was before the NSA revelations).

The paper also doesn't discuss whether the issues of trust appear on other forums - both private and public on the Internet. The discussion points on why trust is difficult to achieve on the Internet would apply to all forms of Internet forums - not only Jihadists; and would these findings apply to forums for open source developers, car enthusiasts, media pirates and Hollywood gossip mongers?

That said, the paper is very interesting reading and covers a subject matter that is rarely discussed in any real level of detail. Even if it is ring fenced to a small Internet community - the methodology should be easy to transfer to other groups, and see if this is a general trend or not. If it is a general trend, there are interesting implications for telecommuting and perhaps even open source communities and other mostly digital communities.

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