US Defense Department Looks at Bitcoin, Smartphones, Social Media as Potential Terrorist Threats

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The Pentagon’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) division has already shut down its open call for vendors that could offer the US military help with understanding these technologies and the threats they can pose.

According to the International Business Times,, which quotes an unclassified memo, the CTTSO mentions that one of the mission requirements is for “innovative… solutions to develop and/or enhance new concepts and constructs for understanding the role of virtual currencies.”

Furthermore, before the analysis is even done, the memo from the CTTSO indicates its position towards Bitcoin. “The introduction of virtual currency will likely shape threat finance by increasing the opaqueness, transactional velocity, and overall efficiencies of terrorist attacks.”

Basically, their main concern is the very core of the Bitcoin architecture – the anonymity it provides. After all, that’s one of the main things that Silk Road users have relied on in the past and even in the present on the rebooted version of the black market.

This has led many governments so far to express concerns about the virtual currencies of the world and the possibility to use them for nefarious purposes. Of course, they have gotten so used to traditional currencies that they seem to have completely forgotten that even they are used by criminals, including for laundering.

Furthermore, it looks like anything that offers people any type of anonymity is bad in the eyes of the American authorities. Networks such as TOR are viewed as convenient paths to traffic drugs, humans, and weapons of all sorts, and, of course, to facilitate terrorist activities. The truth is that all systems are used for both good and bad, but the first certainly trumps the latter.

The CTTSO is also researching Android, Motorola, social media tools and virtual reality products since they too could be used in terrorism campaigns, as the International Business Times notes.

The bottom line is that everything can pose a threat and that while it does not hurt to be prepared and have a full analysis at hand, the entire situation indicates a slight dose of paranoia. This, however, is what these people are getting paid for – thinking of the worst.

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