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Laws Pose Obstacle to Hacktivist Efforts Against ISIL

“Hacker-activists across the world have launched an online war against the so-called Islamic State, targeting the web-savvy jihadists’ vast Internet network of supporters and suspected sleeper cells,” writes The Christian Science Monitor , “But bureaucracy at a wary FBI and stringent US laws against hacking are slowing these efforts to take down the IS web forums and social media accounts.”  

“Various groups of anonymous citizen hackers are taking on the jihadists, including Ghost Security, an alliance of 12 like-minded hackers with military and intelligence backgrounds. Known as GhostSec, the group seeks to monitor and flag various web forums and social media accounts allegedly used by the group to communicate to its followers.”  

“The FBI remains wary of anonymous hacker groups and skeptical of their tip-offs, forcing groups such as GhostSec to go through third-party intelligence firms to provide federal officials with information gathered from IS sites… Moreover, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) criminalizes the distribution of malicious code or the unauthorized altering of US-hosted computers and servers. With many of GhostSec’s members operating from within the US or fearing US prosecution, the hacktivists instead alert concerned US authorities and web administrators to take down IS-linked web forums and social media accounts themselves. Going through the proper legal channels at times takes weeks.”

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