- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 7, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Thanks to two Russian immigrants in Germany, who fled the Russian Federation last year after threats from the Kremlin, terrorists have access to a non-profit, social media messaging site that cannot be spied upon. In a nutshell, the service called Telegram, can deliver messages that are totally secure, can self-destruct, are delivered fast, and can be used on multiple devices.

Fox News reports, “Radical terrorists using social media to sow fear and recruit fighters have found a new media platform that ensures privacy, stores their files and, most of all, promises never to purge their accounts - no matter how twisted or gruesome the content.”

“The new frontier of jihadi communication is taking place on a Telegram – a recently launched messaging platform that has revolutionized the social media sphere, and at least for now put an end to any watchdog oversight,” said Veryan Khan, editorial director for The Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium. “Because of Telegram, jihadists no longer have to struggle to keep up with relentless account suspensions and content removal.”

Since Telegram’s ‘channels’ feature, similar to Youtube but for all types of media, went live in September, the usage by terrorist organizations like ISIS has skyrocketed and now accounts for over half the users of that feature. Since one of the primary means Western governments have to prevent terrorist attack is the monitoring of communications over the internet, this development seems especially troubling.

Founders Pavel and Nikolai Durov, told Venturebeat.com recently, “Privacy is ultimately more important than our fear of bad things happening, like terrorism,” he said. “If you look at ISIS, yes, there’s a war going on in the Middle East. Ultimately, ISIS will find a way to communicate with its cells, and if any means doesn’t feel secure to them, they’ll [find something else]. We shouldn’t feel guilty about it. We’re still doing the right thing, protecting our users’ privacy.”

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