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Jim Huggins
May 2nd, 2011
12:52 pm
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The death of Osama bin Laden in the Age of the Internet
Regarding the death of bin Laden yesterday.  I won't comment on the politics ... mainly because I'm not qualified.

But from a CS perspective, I find a couple of aspects of the story intriguing.

First ... there's a link running around (I found it from Bruce Schneier) of someone's Twitter log from Abbottabad.  It turns out created a blog describing the raid on bin Laden's compound in real-time, without knowing what he was blogging about.  It's fascinating to me ... how one can bear witness to an event, in real-time, and yet have absolutely no idea about it.

Chirpstory - Live Tweets Obama Bin Laden (sic) Raid (And Didn't Know It)

Second ... some of the news analysis has touched on an interesting aspect of the story.  bin Laden, knowing that major efforts were being expended in finding him, was exceedingly careful not to use any modern technologies that might be used to track him (e.g. cell phones, email).  Reportedly, he took that protection to an extreme, not allowing any of those technologies remotely near him.

Ironically, it's that level of security consciousness that may have helped find him.  He built a million-dollar fortress near a major urban center ... and that fortress had no Internet or telephone access.  A million-dollar building without a phone, much less an IP connection?  In today's era of ubiquitous computing, that's inherently suspicious itself.

We are truly living in the panopticon.

Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative

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Date:May 3rd, 2011 01:43 pm (UTC)
One of the many problems with the death of a prominent figure in the age of the Internet--especially bin Laden--is there's a growing number of "pics or it didn't happen" types out there waiting to see photos of the body. Because, you know, they'll be able to tell for sure whether or not our government is telling us the truth...

I strongly suspect they'll regret demanding pictures of someone who was shot in the head.

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