Kiwi ISIS Fighter Mistakenly Broadcasts Location via Twitter

Mark Taylor, a New Zealander fighting with ISIS in Syria, was apparently unaware that Twitter geotag tracking provides the user's coordinates.

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Haaretz
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Mark Taylor (inset) and the location of some of his tweets.
Mark Taylor (inset) and the location of some of his tweets.Credit: Screenshot iBrabo
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Haaretz

A jihadist from New Zealand who is fighting with the Islamic State in Syria has been inadvertently publicizing his location – and that of his colleagues – by tweeting with geotag tracking turned on.

Geotag tracking, which is also available with Facebook, Instagram and Flickr, provides the user's location when using Twitter.

Mark Taylor, also known as Abu Abdul-Rahman, reportedly deleted 45 previous tweets last week after discovering they revealed his exact coordinates.

His Twitter mistake was uncovered by iBrabo, a Canadian open source intelligence research group that tracks terrorist activity on social networks.

According to iBrabo, Taylor was fighting with ISIS in Kafar Roma, an area which the Syrian Army confirmed had been occupied by pockets of foreign fighters from ISIS. His tweets ceased about the same time the Syrian army made a strong push into the area.

He then went off the grid for a few weeks, apparently fighting in the desert, before turning up in the ISIS stronghold of Al Tabqah, near Raqqah, in early December. iBrado published a Google Earth image of the exact house in which he was primarily located.

“My current location is in Syria and my commitment is for jihad for Allah, and his Messenger,” he said in a Youtube video posted that month.

Taylor, who left New Zealand in May 2012, despite being subject to travel restrictions, displayed his burnt New Zealand passport in a Facebook post in June.

He was placed on a watch list after visiting another New Zealand radical, Muslim bin John, in Yemen in 2009. John was killed by a drone strike in Yemen in November 2013 along with an Australian, Christopher Harvard.

Taylor is not the first jihadist to broadcast his whereabouts via social media, according to iBrabo. Fighters from Canada, France and other western countries have made the same mistake.

Taylor’s Twitter account, @M_Taylor_Kiwi, has been suspended.

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