Session 5 of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate on “Preventing the Exploitation of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) for Terrorist purposes, while Respecting Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms” addressed civil society’s role in using ICTs for counter-terrorism messaging purposes. Ms. Humera Khan, moderator for the technical meeting and Executive Director of Muflehun, introduced four panelists whose organizations actively take part in global counterterrorist messaging. A member of Al-Azhar Observer, . Mahmoud Nagah Ahmed Farag Khalaf, remarked, “The internet and social media are arenas for terrorist organizations.” As the use of social media increases, the goal of terrorist organizations has transitioned from gaining attention to gaining members. They promote extremist ideologies on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube by manipulating social, political, and religious views in their favor. Online advertisements have become extremely desirable for terrorist organizations, allowing them to easily recruit vulnerable people.
While terrorist organizations using the Internet for manipulation is a threat, there are benefits to their online activity. Mr. Ross Fernett, co-founder of Moonshot CVE, highlighted that the Internet has allowed people to track these organizations, obtain more information about them, and prevent some large scale potential disasters. This form of violence prevention was nearly impossible a generation ago. NGOs, such as The Foundation for the Study of Democracies, collect information like logos and specific language frequently used in terrorist media and spread them to the general public to counter-message their ideologies. Other NGOs create peer to peer relationships in which trained individuals correspond with those who show interest in terrorist organizations. However, this tactic becomes a legal issue for other nations, as interest is legally seen as either a free expression of thought, or as a serious threat to society.
Meeting: Technical Meeting of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate on “Preventing the Exploitation of Information and Communications Technologies for Terrorist Purposes, while Respecting Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms”
Date/Time/Location: Thursday, 1 December 2016; 10:00 to 12:00; United Nations Headquarters, Conference Room 4
Speakers: Ms. Humera Khan, Executive Director of Muflehun; Mr. Nash Borges, Chief Technology Officer of U.S. Global Engagement Center; Dr. Mahmoud Nagah Ahmed Farag Khalaf, member of Al-Azhar Observer; Mr. Maxim Grigoryev, Director of The Foundation for the Study of Democracies; Mr. Ross Fernett, Co-founder of Moonshot CVE
Written By: Leticia Murillo, WIT Representative