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Fringe on the Net

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 25 Issue: 4 Dated: April 1998 Pages: 51-53
K W Strandberg
Date Published
3 pages
This article explains the ease with which even small fringe groups that may pose public safety threats can create web sites on the Internet and broadcast their message and recruit followers throughout the world; suggestions are offered for police monitoring of these web sites.
It is relatively inexpensive for any group or individual to create a web site on the Internet and to exercise the right of free speech to present ideologies and ideas that espouse hate, racism, and violence against targeted groups. This gives such groups and individuals a worldwide forum they could never have without the Internet. This poses a problem for law enforcement, but it also creates an opportunity for law enforcement agencies to become familiar with the various groups and individuals who may promote violence and criminal activities via the Internet. By monitoring the Internet periodically, police agencies can be aware of various groups whose ideas and intentions may promote criminal behavior in committed adherents. The Internet has become so popular, it likely will only increase in power and influence. New techniques, equipment, and software will make all sorts of data sharing possible. In the near future, white supremacists may hold live video rallies on the Internet, and other fringe groups may teleconference on the Internet as they plan their next move. Law enforcement must be vigilant in monitoring the activities of these groups as reflected in their communications on the Internet.