Literature Review on Information Terrorism

Information terrorism is largely a hidden problem that has the potential to bring unrest, destruction, and violence if not identified and addressed in a timely manner (Arquilla and Ronfeldt 1997, pp 3-4; Janszewski 2005, pp. ix-x.).

Janszewski (2005) claimed that despite the best efforts of government, the public remains in “deep confusion” regarding the need for control of information channels to combat terrorist activities (p. ix).

Therefore, a review of the current state of such efforts is required in order to formulate plans for future policy directions.

The review of literature revealed a variety of factors regarding the potential of the concept to cause disruption both globally and within public and private forums, as well as the needs for control to combat disruption.

Information Terrorism

Devost, Houghton, and Pollard (1996), focusing on the United States’ efforts concerning information terrorism, identified two important questions that must be addressed in attempting to deal with terrorism and its use of information channels: “How can the U.S. national security establishment respond to the informational attacks of terrorists when the terrorists hide behind a veil of digital anonymity?

How much of information terrorism is a military concern and how much is within the jurisdiction of federal law enforcement?”

These two questions identify the major concerns that must deal with terrorists’ approach to information control and strongly suggest the main concerns in responding against information terrorism.

What is to be done about the nature of information and the ability of those who seek to cause disruption by hiding within those channels and how should the approach to the problem be organized?

In order to enable timely responses, the authors argue that the “law enforcement community and the military should join forces in terms of investigative and jurisdictional assets” (Devost et al., 1996, p. 16).

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