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Jihadi Sites Hosted by U.S. Web Servers

Thursday, 09 Apr 2009 03:05 PM

By David A. Patten

“Powered by U.S. technology” could be the motto of scores of jihadist Web sites that rely on U.S.-based Web hosting companies to help them sow their seeds of terror around the globe.

Nobody knows how many Web sites that are promulgating extreme views rely on U.S. servers, but Rita Katz, co-founder of a firm that tracks Muslim extremist groups, tells the Washington Post it’s not uncommon.

“The relatively cheap expense and high quality of U.S. servers seems to attract jihadists,” Katz told the newspaper.

Texas Web hosting company ThePlanet recently learned from a blogger that it was inadvertently hosting a Taliban site that claimed to represent the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” the Post reports.

ThePlanet has since deactivated the Web site, which soon resurfaced under a slightly different name.

U.S. hosting companies say it is impossible to monitor all the sites they do business with.

Some security experts say allowing the sites to continue to operate, and monitoring them, is actually a better idea than blocking them altogether.

“You can learn a lot from the enemy by watching them chat online,” Martin Libicki, a senior policy analyst at the Rand Corp., tells the Post.

The newspaper’s report illustrates the growing problem of monitoring terrorist traffic as the Internet continues to grow. It now has over 1.6 billion users globally, according to InternetWorldStats.com.

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