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Reader's Digest – 2 July 2021

Reader's Digest – 2 July 2021

Our weekly review of articles on terrorist and violent extremist use of the internet, counterterrorism, digital rights, and tech policy.

Tech Against Terrorism Updates

  • We are excited to announce that an updated version of the Knowledge Sharing Platform (KSP) was re-launched to tech platforms on 1 July, supported by the UK Home Office. Thanks to everyone who attended our launch event. For anyone unable to attend, please get in contact with us at contact@techagainstterrorism.org

    The KSP is a collection of interactive tools and resources designed to support the operational needs of smaller tech platforms. The KSP is a “one stop shop” for companies to access practical resources to support their counterterrorism and transparency efforts. It is a free platform which contains research and guidelines on topics including: policies and content standards, terrorist & violent extremist use of the internet, proscribed groups, online regulation, and transparency reporting.

  • Thank you to everyone who tuned in to our June TCAP Office Hours. If you were unable to attend and would like to access a recording, please get in touch with us at support@terrorismanalytics.org. You can also request previous recordings of our Office Hours on our website here.

  • We are excited to announce that July will see the release of our Online Regulation Series Handbook. This will collate all of our blogposts, additional analysis and recommendations, as well as a comprehensive list of all the resources needed to understand the fast-changing landscape of online regulation.

  • On 28 June our CEO Adam Hadley took part in a panel discussion on “Handling Terrorist Content Online: Toward Transparency” as part of the UN’s Counter Terrorism Week.

  • On 26 June, Tech Against Terrorism’s research was mentioned in an article from The Guardian as we predicted that anti-vax and anti-lockdown groups would “continue to exploit any uncertainties” and latch onto conspiracy theories as momentum of the movement fades with the upcoming end of UK restrictions.

Terrorist Content Analytics Platform (TCAP)

  • Last week (21.06.21-27.06.21) the TCAP identified and verified 388 URLs containing terrorist content and sent 232 alerts to 27 tech companies. 77% of this content is now offline.
  • Thank you to everyone who tuned in to our June TCAP Office Hours. If you were unable to attend and would like to access a recording, please get in touch with us at support@terrorismanalytics.org. You can also request previous recordings of our Office Hours on our website here.

Top Stories

  • The Canadian Government has designated four new terrorist entities, three of them being related to the violent far-right: The Three percenters; Aryan Strikeforce; James Mason. The other being the violent Islamist Islamic State affiliate in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Three women were killed, and several others injured after an alleged jihadist extremist committed a knife attack in the German city of Wurzburg on 25 June.
  • 15-year-old British teenager that set up an extremist right-wing group and discussed attacking migrants in Dover has admitted to terrorism offences in court.
  • LinkedIn has committed to doing more to purge illegal hate speech from its platform in the European Union by joining the EU’s Code of Conduct on Countering Illegal Hate Speech.
  • LinkedIn has also suffered a large data leak, exposing the data of more than 700 million of its users, or 92% of its user base. This is the second major leak LinkedIn has suffered this year after the data of 500 million users was exposed in April.
  • A federal judge has dismissed antitrust lawsuits brought against Facebook by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and more than 40 states.
  • This week, law enforcement and judicial authorities in Europe, the US and Canada have seized the web domains and server infrastructure of DoubleVPN. This virtual private network (VPN) service was used to provide a safe haven for cybercriminals to attack their victims.

Tech Policy

  • New UK Internet Law Raises Free Speech Concerns, say Civil Liberties Campaigners: Annabelle Dickson reports the concerns of civil liberties groups over the UK’s proposed Online Safety Bill giving “disproportionate powers in the name of protecting users from harmful content”. The article goes on to convey concerns from the Carnegie Trust over the proposed ability to “modify a code of practice to reflect government policy”, the Trust fears this may undermine the independence of the UK’s communications regulator OFCOM, leading future regulation to be politicised. (Dickson, Politico, 29.06.21)

    Last month we responded to the proposed UK Online Safety Bill explaining our concerns over a lack of focus and clarity on smaller tech platforms. You can read the statement in full here.

    July will see the release of a blogpost on the UK’s Online Safety Bill as part of our Online Regulation Series Handbook.

Violent Far-Right Extremism and Terrorism

  • Canada Adds US-Based Militia Group Three Percenters, Influential Neo-Nazi to Terror List: In this article, Mack Lamoureux responds to the recent decision by the Canadian government to designate the neo-Nazi James Mason and the US-style militia movement the Three Percenters as terrorist entities. With comment from Amarnath Amarasingam, Lamoureux explains that the inclusion of Mason “communicates that Canada is taking the ideologues and propagandists behind far-right movements seriously”. The same goes for the Three Percenters as Canada have responded to a 2020 plot to kidnap the Governor of Michigan and the creeping expansion of “regional groups in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario”. (Lamoureux, Vice, 25.06.21)
  • What Terrorism Will Look Like in the Near Future: Colin Clarke and Rasha al Aqeedi discuss the future of terrorism, predicting it will become “more diverse and more fragmented, with actors being empowered by advances in emerging technologies”. The authors argue that, alongside the present threat of violent Islamism and violent far-right extremism, the coming years may “resuscitate long-dormant forms of extremism” including violent left-wing terrorism. Clarke and al Aqeedi also suggest that traditional ideologies and organisational structures may change, as violent extremists are increasingly drawn to “salad bar ideologies” that adopt elements from across the extremist ideological spectrum. (Clark, al Aqeedi, Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy, 29.06.21)

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