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Banned from Telegram, ISIS Could Return With New Blockchain Messaging App

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has found refuge in a blockchain app to continue spreading its propaganda messages, after being locked out by Telegram, which previously served as their primary medium of communication.

According to a VICE report on Dec. 16, ISIS is now testing BCM, a messaging app that stands for “Because Communication Matters.” The supposed blockchain app is said to be the ideal platform for an organization looking to avoid detection by law enforcement.

Once adopted, BCM will provide ISIS with everything it needs to continue its propaganda, such as anonymous communication, security, a tamper-proof repository for beheading videos, more especially, the ability to transfer cryptocurrencies around the world.

“The app’s core features of anonymity, encryption, and large group-chat sizes also pose a great risk for adoption,” according to Brenna Smith, a researcher dealing with disinformation and the illicit use of digital currencies. “Extremists covet technologies that can get their message out to thousands, all while concealing their identity.”

Meanwhile, the blockchain app BCM is among the list of messaging applications being tried by ISIS, some of which include RocketChat, TamTam, Riot, and Hoop, in a bid to find a better medium to carry on with its operations. The app strictly encrypts messages, which no third party can decipher the content.

Commenting on the development, Yaya Fanuise, an ex-CIA counterterrorism analyst, reportedly said:

It would be troubling if BCM truly allows content and communication that can not be disrupted or blocked by a third party.

Fanuise added that the platform would offer greater security for groups like ISIS, which encourages them to spread materials like beheading videos and other propaganda.

Telegram was a favorite social channel for ISIS and other terrorist groups to operate and raise funds for their operations. Although Telegram said it has been taking actions to ban ISIS-related content from its platform for years through various means, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reportedly issued letters to Pavel Durov, the CEO of Telegram in August, to take immediate action against the continuous use of the platform by terrorist groups.

In November, an international law enforcement agency terminated the network of accounts and channels created by ISIS on Telegram.



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