CB2: Crowdsourcing Against Terror

Today’s CB2 will be brief, following a great time at the Philly GovUp last night. I came across a crisis-related article on CrunchGear last week that really piqued my interest:

If you’re not familiar with last Friday’s incident, explosive packages from Yemen arriving on air cargo planes were destined for synagogues in the US.

The explosive device controller pictured here was quickly released to the media and began appearing on websites worldwide. I didn’t think to ask “what” the device was, but the CrunchGear team did. There are hundreds if not thousands of potential mobile circuit boards that could have been used, and how many of us really know what the inside of our phones look like. Unfortunately, cell phones are common detonators these days, giving terrorists the ability to trigger an explosive by sending a text message to the device.

Amazingly, within just a matter of hours the author and commenters were able to determine it was a Nokia 6120c built in 2007. Now of course this information wasn’t essential for diffusing the bombs, but it’s clearly valuable information for the investigation that follows.
I’m sure I’m not the first to see the value in using the Internet to quickly obtain answers that can combat terrorism. I hope our intelligence agencies are using it more frequently and ask readers to share other examples that may come to mind. I hope to dig up some more and will share them in the comments.

Read Last Week’s CB2: Bullies Suck

About Chris Bennett

Chris Bennett is a self-proclaimed emergency management innovator who is trying to make government better by improving citizen preparedness and crisis communications. He’s a graduate of Wharton with a master’s from Harvard with in “Technology, Innovation, Education.” His portfolio of companies and former projects include OneStorm Hurricane Preparedness, ReadyTown, GovLive, TexasPrepares and America’s Emergency Network. Chris was the recipient of FL Governor Crist’s 2008 Public Information Award. He lives in St. Petersburg, FL, loves to fish, and has been spotted sharing a pint with GovLoop Founder Steve Ressler in Tampa.

What does CB2 Mean? “Chris Bennett’s Crisis Blog.” It was originally CB Squared but the superscript 2 never took, so now we’re rocking the big 2.

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