It comes as no shock to anyone that terrorism has been rising day in and day out. While the face of terrorism may be changing, its incidence is on the rise. The rate at which the world is globalizing coupled with the advent of technology, the nature of terrorism is fast changing. Be it the way it is propagating, or the groups it targets, or simply the objectives of the attacks are all donning new faces. One of the most prominent changes in terrorism has been the rise of digital terrorism. It is simply the propagation and conducting of terrorist activities through digital means.
Developers as soldiers
While it is true that terrorism through digital means is on the rise, the good news is that counter measures are a step ahead. Increasingly, developers, coders and programmers are wearing the masks of backend soldiers. They are putting in their days and nights crunching codes to counter terrorism in every way possible. We can definitely hail such programmers as soldiers without uniforms. They may not be fighting terrorism on the ground, but their contributions through technological interventions deserve due credit.
It goes without saying that modern societies serve as easy targets for terrorist activities. The reason is their overcrowding and exposed nature. While it is impossible to reverse the nature of these places to combat terrorism, developers are creating programs and developing technologies that can prevent the incidence of such attacks. Like soldiers fight on the borders to prevent terrorists from infiltrating boundaries, developers also create preventive strategies by putting a tech hat on.
To actually understand the impact of developers in counter terrorist activities, it is important to widen one’s definition of terrorism. Terrorism is not just about mass bombing or crashes. It encompasses any activity that aims to create massive catastrophe negatively impacting everyone in, around and away. In fact, a lot of terrorist activities use technology as a medium for propagation. Thus, only when coders join hands with on ground anti terrorist forces, can we counter terrorism.
It is pretty clear by now that coding and coders have an important role to play when it comes to launch a war on terrorism. With developers putting in their coding skills at the right place and developing intelligence interventions and soldiers ready to tear down any infiltrators, we can definitely be one step ahead of any terrorist attack.
How to combat terrorism with technology
By now we understand that coding and coders play a crucial role in the countering modern terrorism. However, let us now take a look at how technology is actually playing this role-
Prevention is better than cure-
One important tool that technological innovations are offering as a counter-terrorism mechanism is the ability to detect a terror activity before it takes place. Thanks to great developers, we have in place a range of crime prevention tools like CCTVs, Gunshot detection systems etc. They offer crucial data to intelligence bureaus in real time. By being connected to a central cloud computing system, they allow authorities to read license plates, run facial recognition and practically view and map any suspicious terrorist activity.
Artificial intelligence stands as one of the most promising technological advances when it comes to countering terrorism. According to technology experts, the game plan is to train AI in such a way so as to detect suspicious faces and objects. Additionally, use AI to track fraudulent transactions and study and build counter techniques for easy targets. This simply means that those activities which initially required human intervention will be transferred to the machines. The idea is to free human energy and brain capacity for high order work. At the same time machine and AI take care of tracking and deception at exponentially high speed. What is more, is that soon AI will also be able to observe and analyse terrorist behaviour based on specific algorithms.
Combat Terrorist Funding-
One of the pillars for the thriving of terrorist activities is their funding. Technology as a weapon to combat terrorism can play an integral role in stopping or at least decelerating funding. While this may not completely eradicate terrorism, but can definitely paralyze its spread. Technological innovations are capable to run strong account verification checks and raise red alerts in case of suspicious monetary activities. These advances also allow immediate stopping of transactions and penalization of the suspects in question. Therefore, using technology to monitor financial transactions can be an effective way to prevent funding from reaching terrorist groups.
Big data is definitely the most common ‘buzzword’ going around these days. It is common knowledge that large businesses are using the big data approach to get hands on knowledge about their target audience. A similar approach to combat terrorism can be quite effective. One of the primary needs for countering terrorism is to understand the terrorists inside out. This can be in terms of the motivations they have, the technology they use, the targets they select, and the way they operate. What could be better than big data to equip intelligence agencies with all this necessary information? Big data can assist intelligence agencies in understanding the motivation for terrorists, their modus operandi, their mode of communication, etc. This can effectively help them identify terrorist networks, funders and associates to weed terrorism from its roots. Therefore, big data is how technology as a weapon is helping counter terrorism forces.
Surveillance through IoT-
Technology is increasingly enabling greater connections. This is true not only in connecting devices to the internet, but also connecting devices to one another. All the credit for this goes to IoT or internet of things. All devices today have an IP address and IoT makes it possible to gain access to all these networks for surveillance. This is enabling intelligence agencies to increasingly intercept different signals from mobile devices, satellites, videos, etc. This data can then be used to observe and monitor different suspicious targets. They come in handy to keep a close watch on all their activities. While surveillance has been in place for a long time, but the advent of IoT now allows micro surveillance via all forms of devices.
Sensors and armed robots-
While technology is increasingly helping in identifying and tracking terrorists, it is also assisting counter terrorism forces in preventing pre-planned attacks. For instance, sensors that change colour when they sense the presence of mass explosive materials. Similarly, developers are working on several types of pocket-sized robots. These come with grenades, they can detect hazardous materials and gases, and the like. In fact, developers are also working on a bomb disposal robot to detect and defuse bombs aiming at terrorist destruction. Additionally, these bots and sensors will have biometric technology integrations. The aim is to supply intelligence agencies with images of terrorist bases and networks.
It goes without saying that this National Anti- Terrorism Day, developers all across the globe deserve heartfelt respect and appreciation for their dedication. They are the backend soldiers that can help predict and prevent terrorist attacks and help strategize and build counter terrorism measures.