Terror Trackers Tackle Jihadis Online
Two firms spearhead web war on terror
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2008 4:57 AM CDT
This frame grab carries the logo of al-Qaida's production house as-Sahab. It was discovered by IntelCenter agents last year.   (AP Photo/Intel Center)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Two low-profile private contractors are at the forefront of the fight against cyber-jihadis, Der Speigel reports. From secret US locations, IntelCenter and SITE track footprints that al-Qaeda and other groups leave online. They detect new statements in the maze of terror-linked sites and rapidly transmit them to the world's counter-terror agencies.

The firms' experts, posing as Islamic radicals, have won the trust of several network administrators and gained entry to password-protected forums rich in information. The terror-tracking companies are often well ahead of government intelligence agencies and provide them with vital info. But some critics charge they are commercializing the data and evolving into an "information oligarchy."