Technology & Extremism
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Baljit Dhaka

Technology & Extremism

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Technology & Extremism

Introduction

Modern terrorism is instantaneous and unpredictable, a global threat that hits its targets, but at the same time hits a wide audience due to the use of technology.

Terrorists have been using cyberspace to find resources, make propaganda activities and now it is possible to launch the attacks against enemies everywhere in the world from a remote location.

Social media is an essential element of modern terrorism; these powerful platforms allow terrorists to communicate, to make propaganda, and recruit new sympathizers at the same time maintaining anonymity to the user.

How technology is being used in terrorism

Propaganda: It generally takes the form of multimedia communications providing ideological or practical

instruction, explanations, justification, or promotion of terrorist activities. It is being used for the promotion of violence, recruitment, incitement, and radicalization.

Financing: Online payment facilities offered through dedicated websites or communications platforms make it easy to transfer funds electronically between parties. Financial support provided to seemingly legitimate organizations, such as charities, may also be diverted for illicit purposes.

Training: Instructional material are being made available with the use of technology which imparts training

And facilitate online counterintelligence and hacking activities.

Planning: Technology also facilitates the preparation of terror activities through communication channels, both within and between the terror outfits located in different geographies.

Execution: Internet communications may also be used as a means to coordinate the execution of physical acts of terrorism.

Cyber attacks: These attacks are typically intended to disrupt the proper functioning of targets, such as computer systems, servers, or underlying infrastructure. sometimes leads to extortion, blackmailing and financial frauds, phishing, stocking, etc

Strengthening the technological framework to counter extremism

A combined effort is needed from the governments across the globe and the internet service providers.

To combat online extremism in May 2019 a document called "Christchurch Call To Action" was signed and adopted by 26 nations including India. The international call was initiated by the governments of France and New Zealand along with top social media companies after the Christchurch attacks.

Note::

On 15th March 2019, two consecutive terrorist attacks occurred at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The attacks were live-streamed on Facebook.

The social media companies and major IT enterprises present in the signing were: Microsoft, Qwant, Daily Motion, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon.

The Call outlines "collective", "voluntary" commitments from Governments and online service providers intended to address the issue of terrorist and violent extremist content online and to prevent the abuse of the internet.

All action on this issue must be consistent with principles of free, open, and secure internet, without compromising human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression.

Under the Call, the Governments have committed to:

Counter drivers of terrorism and violent extremism by strengthening resilience and inclusiveness of societies.

Ensure effective enforcement of laws.

Encourage media outlets to apply ethical standards when depicting terrorist events online.

Awareness-raising and capacity -building of smaller online service providers

The document outlines the roles of Online service providers, governments, and civil societies.

Role of Online service providers

Terms of Use: Updating terms of use, community standards, codes of conduct to prohibit the distribution of terrorist and violent extremist content.

User Reporting of Terrorist and Violent Extremist Content: Providing easy to use methods within

online platforms and services for users to report or flag inappropriate content.

Enhancing Technology: Prevent the upload & dissemination of terrorist and violent extremist content, with a mechanism for automatic identification and immediate & permanent removal.

Transparency Reports: Publishing regularly transparency reports regarding the detection and removal of terrorist or violent extremist content on online platforms.

Closure of online accounts wherever necessary.

Role of Government and civil society

Shared Technology Development: Share technology with other industries, governments, and NGOs, such as data sets and open-source content AI detection tools.

Crisis Protocols: Creating a crisis protocol for responding to emerging or active events, on an urgent basis, so relevant information can be quickly and efficiently shared, processed, and acted upon by all stakeholders with minimal delay.

Education: Collaborate with industry, governments, educational institutions, and NGOs to help educate the public about terrorist and extremist violent content online & how to report it.

Combating Hate & Bigotry: Support research and academic efforts to better understand and attack root causes of extremism and supporting capability and capacity of NGOs to promote pluralism.

Investing in and expanding the GIFCT (Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism): It is an industry-led initiative, working in close partnership with the UN Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (UNCTED) to substantially disrupt terrorists' ability to promote terrorism, disseminate violent extremist propaganda.