CSU terrorism expert Googles bomb making

1 JANUARY 2003

A Charles Sturt University (CSU) expert in counter-terrorism has used the popular Google internet search engine to demonstrate that New Zealand and Australia are home to the cities where most 'make bombs' enquiries come from.

A Charles Sturt University (CSU) expert in counter-terrorism has used the popular Google internet search engine to demonstrate that New Zealand and Australia are home to the cities where most ‘make bombs’ enquiries come from.
 
Nicholas O’Brien, Associate Professor in Counter-Terrorism, from the Australian Graduate School of Policing at CSU in Canberra, spoke at The Human Factors in Security conference in Sydney on Wednesday 30 May.
 
Professor O’Brien was formerly in charge of International Terrorism Operations in Special Branch at New Scotland Yard in the United Kingdom (UK). At the conference he used a PowerPoint presentation and a Google Labs / Trends search to demonstrate how New Plymouth and Auckland in New Zealand, followed by Perth and Brisbane in Australia, were the cities from which the most ‘make bombs’ enquiries came.
 
Interestingly, all five of Australia’s mainland capital cities featured in the top ten list of cities world-wide for ‘make bombs’ enquiries.
 
Professor O’Brien emphasises that it is hard to draw any particular inference from his findings. He says that the Google searches often followed news of a particular terrorism-related bombing outrage and the internet queries might be the result of the publics’ general curiosity about how these events were perpetrated.
 
“It might also be the case that the enquiries stem from criminals or criminal groups, such as some bikie gangs, and they might not be related to international terrorism as we think of it,” Professor O’Brien said. “Nevertheless, this is certainly fertile ground for ongoing monitoring and study.”
 
The top ten cities for ‘make bombs’ enquiries were, in order, New Plymouth and Auckland (NZ), Perth, Brisbane, North Shore (NZ), Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Halifax (Canada) and Salt Lake City (USA).

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