The author William Gibson once confessed to writing up a terrorist plot so plausible that he didn’t want to publish it. He cut it out of his book Idoru. “It seemed so workable and media-efficient an idea,” he told the Village Voice in 2003, “that I didn’t feel like I could let it out.” Gibson refused further comment.
If he were of a mind to help, Gibson is the sort of person who could extend a hand to the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa. The agency, with its characteristic spirit of paranoid generosity that gave us killer robots and the Internet, recently asked researchers to submit proposals for research projects that investigate whether freely available, open data could be weaponized.