Monday, November 12, 2007

Dillon Cossey...and online networking

Recent reports disclose that Dillon told his lawyer he had been in touch with the Finnish attacker.

This isn't surprising, given that many troubled young people are finding their heroes and ways to communicate with like-minded troubled youth online. Networking is networking. Whether we do it for dates, to promote our cause or products, to learn about others and other places, to share our opinions or ranks, all of us are networking and communicating with others online.

I testified before Congress last week, on Homeland Security and radicalization. We are seeing a small but growing trend of young people being recruited by radical and terrorist groups and becoming sympathetic based on misinformation and flashy YouTube videos.

Many young people are looking for a place where they are understood and accepted. And these kinds of places provide that. Some are bored and looking for thrills and risk. These do that too. Some are victims of bullying or cyberbullying and looking for revenge. The Internet, as wonderful as it can be, is an "equal opportunity offender." And law enforcement agencies are already trakcing traffic to certain sites and, I suspect, will do more of this on large social networks and video networks.

I would have been surprised had Dillon not tried to reach out to other like-minded people. What surprises me, though, is that his lawyer could have allegedly shared this information with the media. I would have thought these facts would have been privileged.

from one puzzled lawyer...


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