Online Video As A Weapon Of War

Online Video As A Weapon Of War

Michael Masucci spoke this April 30 in Nashville at InfoWarCon 15 which is an annual conference of political, military, academic, DIYer, and commercial cyber-leaders and thinkers from around the world who examine the current, future, and potential hostile use of cyber and related information technologies and how to neutralize the current ones.

Michael addressed the program section, The Mind of the Cyber Terrorist, and specifically to the theme, ISIS, Media Management, and Influence

“What are the skills, both technical and more importantly creative, that are required to produce compelling content designed to be a weapon of war? Can the cyber-security community retaliate with equally compelling and effective content? And should they? How do we deconstruct these well-produced terrorist productions, in order to analyze and mimic their formulas? Will a major front in the War on Terror be not just within cyberspace, but more specifically, within the world of online video? It has become disturbingly clear that we already know that answer.

High production value visuals, often appropriated from mainstream sources, combined with ISIS’ own original footage of training and atrocities, integrates the visual languages which both Hitler as well as Spielberg have utilized. This results in a new and dangerously diabolical folk art, informed and inspired by the most effective skill sets employed by popular culture’s worldwide obsession with social media and online communities, both overt as well as covert.

In 1991 I wrote a chapter on “Guerilla Video-making” in the seminal book on the digital revolution “Cyber Arts-Exploring Art and Technology” (ed. Linda Jacobsen). In that chapter I predicted that soon it would be possible to replace hundreds of thousands of dollars in esoteric television production equipment, with relatively inexpensive personal computers and user-friendly software. Over time, not just artists, filmmakers, journalists and scientists have adopted these tools, but later on the general public at large (with, for example their now ubiquitous cutesy YouTube cat videos). Now it has also become a routine tool for terrorism and war. The wars of the 21st century are as much a war over mindshare as it is over military might.”

The following training video has been pulled from you tube:

We will follow up after the conference with a report on Michael Masucci’s talk in May.

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