Author Gabriel Weimann, an eminent communication and terrorism analyst and professor of Communications at Haifa University in Israel, tackles the fundamental aspects of civil rights (such as privacy or freedom of expression) and public safety against possible cyber threats. Terror on the Internet offers an excellent overview of the origin and evolution of the scenario of cyberterrorism from the various approaches that shape it. It also highlights the interests of direct and indirect actors involved in it.
He completes his research by analyzing some of the government actions carried out against this threat by the United States after the 911 attacks. These actions, which governments claim were necessary, have received significant criticism due to the possibility of violating fundamental civil rights, notably those related to freedom in using the Internet.
In his analysis, the author reflects upon the difference between cyberterrorism, cybercrime, and hacktivism, which can be easily misleading nowadays since the Internet is merely a medium, a tool, or a channel that can be used in different ways. Therefore, to agree on a definition, should we focus on the reasons that induce the act, or should we reflect on the consequences?
This is a necessary distinction to make to properly evaluate the severity of the terrorist cyber threat and determine whether specific actions already implemented to counter it are justified.