It would be a cliché to state that technology could be a boon or a bane. In this case it’s turned out to be the latter. [MSNBC]
The cell phone because of its ease of use, portability, low overhead and the lack of need for wired resources is being used widely in various parts of the world with no Internet, telephone or even television access. We previously talked about how Indian farmers were using text messages to save their crops and increase productivity .
The Taliban in Afghanistan are reportedly using cell phones with deadly effect to undermine the current government and US forces. Their preferred mode of communication is through text messages and ring tones. The Taliban use text messages for short term gains by sending threats via text and ring tones for the long term by creating jihadist ring tones.
The Taliban’s propaganda exploits civilian killings by foreign forces and corruption in the U.S.-backed government to add to Afghans’ disillusionment about their lives, according to the report by the Brussels, Belgium-based group. It said the Afghan government and its foreign allies should respond more quickly to their mistakes and highlight the Taliban’s atrocities.
Many of the messages that have been distributed — apparently not always directly produced by the Taliban — come in the form of songs, religious chants and poetry that appeal to Afghan nationalism and Islamic pride.
Apparently, they have enough ring tones to warrant a Jihad Top 10 list.
Some of the tunes are available as ring tones for phones, and cassettes include songs such as “Let me go to jihad,” the report said. Some people reported that they kept the cassettes as a form of protection in case they were stopped by Taliban.
One poem — “Death is a gift,” on Al Emarah — included the phrase, “I will not kiss the hand of Laura Bush.”
Terrorists using cell phones is not a new concept to the sub-continent. The Indian government has for long battled the usage of technology by insurgents and terrorists. Even recently, the Indian government’s attempts to read Blackberry messages was rebuffed by the Canadian makers, RIM.
India, battling a host of insurgencies in places ranging from Muslim-majority Kashmir to the northeast, has raised fears the popular device made by Research in Motion (RIM) could be used by terrorists to communicate.
RIM said it had held talks with the Indian government over encryption in its BlackBerries and wished to “assure customers” it was committed to “serving security-conscious businesses in the Indian market with highly secure” products that “satisfy the needs of both business and government.”
“Governments have a wide range of resources and methodologies to satisfy national security and law enforcement needs without compromising commercial security requirements,” RIM added in a statement received by AFP on Tuesday
In light of this gross misuse and the recent bomb blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad, which signify a growing threat from terrorists, should cell phone makers and wireless providers co-operate with the government? Or is the companies’ first duty towards its customer and protecting their privacy?
What do you think?