Although a lot of water has flown under the bridge, the scars of the 2008 terror attacks Mumbai experienced still remain fresh in the minds of many. Post the attacks, however, several theories came in – each trying to decode the nature of the attack in their own way. One such question that undoubtedly must’ve crossed the mind of anyone who heard of the attacks, or worse was a survivor of it was the capabilities of the gunmen and the kind of technology at their disposal. Speaking at the sixth annual 2012 Joint Warfighting Conference at Virginia Beach, this week, Marine Corps Lt Gen George J Flynn discussed the current trend of democratisation of technology and its repercussions, and his reference was the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, reports The Times of India. Flynn pointed out that the heavily-armed terrorists used Google Earth to aid themselves during the planning of the mission. “All the mission planning was done via Google Earth. There was no investment in technology of [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] platforms or anything like that,” he was quoted as saying at the conference. 

Google Earth logo

Google Earth

Google Earth, as we know is a  virtual globe, map and geographical information program that lets you view any location on the globe by way of 3D imagery, and the fact that it may have helped in the planning of something so gruesome is enough to make us consider the drawbacks of having such technology at our disposal. He also went on to add that the terrorists used cellular phone networks as command and control, alongwith social media to track and erode the efforts of Indian commandos. He also warned saying, “How much technology or how much investment was made to create that terrorist capability? The future operating environment — both the technology and the threat — will continue to increase at greater rates of change due to the accessibility of information.

Flynn was further quoted as saying, “Space and cyber will continue to play an increased role in events, with each becoming increasingly contested domains — so it's a new domain that we're going to have to contest. Security challenges will have both local and global aspects, we think, with events occurring across the globe. So the bottom line [is that] if you liked the past challenges of the past 11 years, you will like the future.

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