London: Seeking new ways to combat the growing scourge of terror, the British government may have come up with a new idea - deploying internet search engine Google against terrorists.
A report in The Register says the UK Home Office's Office for Security and Counter Terrorism (OSCT) plans to work with "approved" Islamist Web sites to "flood the Internet" with pro-Western viewpoints.
The idea itself is about as old as the search engines themselves – the OSCT will train operators of the pro-Western sites in search engine optimization. The strategy aims to ensure your site comes up high on Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Live Search results pages.
The theory is to ensure that young British Muslims searching online for say, "jihad," will be directed to pro-Western Web sites instead of Al Qaeda mouthpieces.
"In order to support mainstream voices, we work with local partners to help develop their communication, representational and leadership skills," an unnamed Home Office spokesman told The Register. "This support could include media training, which can help make their voices heard more widely, and support the development of skills which allow communities to be more effective in debate."
Experts, however, are skeptical that such strategies would be effective. A recent study by the International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence (ICSR) said, "It is unlikely that any but the most callow wannabe terrorist would use a mainstream search engine to find banned material."
The report, entitled "Countering Online Radicalization," expressed doubts that curbing Islamist material online would impact terrorist activity in any meaningful way.