Although public concern and policy interest in the connection between the Internet and terrorism has been rapidly increasing, thus far there has been little empirically informed criminology research on the topic. One thing is clear: Both terrorism and the Internet have had profound effects on the world; from everyday life to the functioning of macro-level global political, economic, and social systems. In his influential book, essayist Nassim Nicholas Taleb (2007) identified both the coordinated terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the rise of the Internet as “black swan” events—those that fall outside the realm of usual expectations, have an enormous impact, and yet defy prediction. An important implication of black swan events is that however unpredictable and rare, they change the course of human history. It seems logical that if predicting the occurrence and understanding the effect of a black swan event is complicated, predicting the confluence of more than one may be especially challenging. The article by Paul Gill, Emily Corner, Maura Conway, Amy Thornton, Mia Bloom, and John Horgan (2017, this issue) is a welcome step toward identifying the behaviors, patterns, and processes of those who use the Internet to further terrorist goals.
LaFree, Gary. 2017. "Terrorism and the Internet." Criminology and Public Policy (January). http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1745-9133.12292/abstract