Lawrence Peter Ampofo

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Terrorism 3.0: Understanding Perceptions of Technology, Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism in Spain

Lawrence Peter Ampofo
Royal Holloway University of London

Department of Politics and International Relations

Thesis submitted for the degree:
D. Phil in Politics and International Relations

Declaration of Authorship

A thesis submitted by Lawrence Peter Ampofo who claims sole and original authorship, for the University of London Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.



This thesis tests whether the availability of new technologies increases the capacities of terrorist and counter-terrorist agencies to achieve their communication objectives. It focuses on the ways narratives affected the behaviour of Spanish-language audiences through an analysis of policy documents, elite interviews, and internet research methods adapted by the author. The data illuminate shifting understandings of communities of policymakers, journalists, and publics during 2004 to 2011 and is the first such study undertaken in Spain. Five themes are examined: the relation of terrorism in Spain to immigration, the formation of narratives in relation to understandings of terrorism, terrorism and cybercrime within Spain, the nature of communities in relation to understandings of terrorism in Spain and online reaction to the death of Osama bin Laden. The hypothesis is derived from: the theses of Bobbitt (2008) and Barnett (2005) concerning technology’s role in the changing character of the state and terrorist organisations; terrorism studies literature concerning the role of technology in recruitment and communication; and public diplomacy studies suggesting political organisations can communicate effectively to publics through digital campaigns. The main findings are: (i) the availability of technologies has not brought success for government or terrorist organisations; (ii) government narratives were not considered persuasive by online users, refuting top-down communication models; (iii) online communities wish to engage and may contain key influencers to be conduits for government or terrorist narratives; (iv) terrorist organisations now have greater capacity to operationalise visibility and invisibility within their strategies; and (v) partly independent phenomena have been ‘commensurated’ into one ‘nexus’ of concern. The thesis considers how Web 3.0 is likely to bear upon these relationships, recommending that counter-terrorist practitioners conduct further internet research into the attitudes and behaviours of online users to explore ways they can be co-opted into future counter-terrorism strategies.

Table of Contents

Abstract 3

Figures and Tables 6

List of Figures 6

List of Tables 8

Acknowledgements 9

Chapter One: The Socio-Technical Development of the Internet and the World Wide Web 11

Introduction 11

Thesis Outline 16

The Internet, the Web and Society 29

Theoretical Framework Underpinning the Development of the Internet and the Web 34

Evolution of the Internet and the World Wide Web 46

i.The Internet 46

ii.The World Wide Web 47

iii.Iterations of the World Wide Web 48

What Inspires the Development of the internet and the World Wide Web? 52

i.Social and Political Contexts 52

ii.Government 57

iii.Technical Developers 60

iv.Civil Society 64

v.Corporations 68

Conclusion 71

Chapter Two: Terrorism, Counter-terrorism and Public Diplomacy in Spain 73

Introduction 73

Theoretical Approaches to Terrorism in Spain 74

i.Strengths and Weaknesses of the Theses of Barnett and Bobbitt 92

ii.Terrorism in Contemporary Spain 98

iii.Counter-terrorism Policies in Contemporary Spain 107

Terrorist Organisations in France 112

i.Counter-terrorism Policies in Contemporary France 116

Challenges to Counter-terrorism Policies in France and Spain 119

Public Diplomacy as Counter-Terrorism Strategy 123

i.Spain’s Use of Public Diplomacy 127

Conclusion 130

Chapter Three: The Ethics and Practices of Internet and Social Media Research 133

Introduction 133

The Methodological Issues of Terrorism Research 135

Ethics and Practices of Online Research: Comparing Traditional and Contemporary Methodologies 138

i.A History and Definition of Social Media 138

ii.Privacy and Trust in Social Media Analysis 141

iii.Specific Internet Research Methodologies and Practices 146

a. Content Analysis 147

b. Network Analysis 151

c. Web Metrics 155

d. Web Analytics 158

e. Netnography 158

f. Mobile Research Methods 160

Measurement Approaches for Digital Public Diplomacy 170

i.Why Measure Public Diplomacy Programmes? 170

Approach Used for the Internet Research: Methods and Categories for Analysis 174

Semi-Structured Interviews 191

Conclusion 192

Chapter Four: Immigration, Technology, Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism in Spain 195

Introduction 195

Immigration in Contemporary Spain 201

Terrorist Attacks in Madrid on 11 March 2004 206

Spanish Immigration Policy and Technological Determinism 217

Limitations of the Confluence of Technology, Immigration and Terrorism 221

Internet Research on the 11-M Attacks: Key Narratives and Immigration (2004-2010) 226

i.Sentiment Analysis 231

ii.Key Narratives 231

Conclusion 236

Chapter Five: Influence, Technology, Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism in Spain: An Overview of Understandings, 2004-2010 239

Introduction 239

Terrorism in Spain and the Traditional Media 245

Terrorism and the Internet / World Wide Web in Spain 254

Internet Research on the 11-M Attacks: Key Narratives and Sentiment Analysis (2004-2010) 262

i.Overview of Results 263

a. Volume of Content Over Time (2004-2010) 263

b. Most Frequent Narratives, Sentiment Analysis and Narrative Source (2004-2010) 265

c. Results from 11 March 2004 to 11 August 2004 274

d. Results from 11 March 2005 to 11 August 2005 280

e. Results from 11 March 2006 to 11 August 2007 285

f. Results from 11 March 2008 to 11 August 2009 287

g. Results from 11 March 2010 to 11 August 2010 290

h. Network Analysis of Online Communities by Core Narratives (2004-2010) 291

Conclusion 295

Chapter Six: Cybercrime, Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism in Spain 298

Introduction 298

Defining Cybercrime 301

Cybercrime in Spain 311

The Development of Cybercrime vs. Cyberterrorism in Spain 322

Internet Research on the 11-M Attacks: Key Findings Related to the Topic of Cybercrime and Terrorism (2004-2010) 327

Conclusion 330

Chapter Seven: Community Engagement, Technology, Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism in Spain 334

Introduction 334

Engagement with Local Communities in Spain 339

Engagement with Online Communities 352

Public Diplomacy and Engagement with Communities 359

Internet Research on 11-M Attacks: Behaviour of Online Communities 360

i.Overview of Results 361

ii.Monitoring and Analysis of the Behaviour of Online Communities Over Time (2004-2010) 365

a. Results from 11 March 2004 to 11 August 2004 365

b. Results from 11 March 2005 to 11 August 2005 368

c. Results from 11 March 2006 to 11 August 2007 370

d. Results from 11 March 2008 to 11 August 2009 373

e. Results from 11 March 2010 to 11 August 2010 376

f. Analysis of Negative Sentiment Over Time (2004-2010) 378

Conclusion 383

Chapter Eight: Online Life Online Death: Terrorism 3.0, Recommendations and the Death of Osama Bin Laden 387

The Concept of Terrorism 3.0 387

Main Conclusions from the Thesis 397

Internet Research on the 11-M Attacks: Spanish Reaction to the Death of Osama Bin Laden 408

i.Volume of Content 410

ii.Key Narrative Analysis 410

iii.Narrative Source 412

iv.Sentiment Analysis 414

v.Key Narrative Analysis by Sentiment 417

vi.Network Analysis 420

Final Analysis 423

Appendix One: List of Interviewees 428

Appendix Two: Detailed Methodology for Semi-Structured Interviews 431

Questionnaires Used 432

i.Government 432

ii.Academia 432

iii.Business 433

Challenges to the Conduct of the Semi-structured Interviews 433

Appendix Three: Glossary of Terms 436

Bibliography 445

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