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Tackling Terrorism Online in 2022

A review by Adam Hadley, Executive Director, Tech Against Terrorism.


As 2022 draws to a close, I wanted to thank everyone who has supported the work of Tech Against Terrorism from UN CTED in New York to the governments of Canada, US, UK, New Zealand, and tech platforms big and small. 

I’m delighted to present here our highlights of 2022 and our plans to have operational impact on terrorist use of the internet in 2023. 

Through scaling up our Open Source Intelligence capability, we have extended our forensic understanding to inform the threat picture. This then feeds into our Terrorist Content Analytics Platform (TCAP) which generates alerts including relating to imminent threat to life and crisis events. TCAP has enabled the removal of over 20,000 pieces of content and we have received additional funding to develop this capability further in expanding our alerts and developing new capability to create an auditable hash database and content archive. 

We've made great strides in supporting small tech platforms, providing our free mentorship service in collaboration with the GIFCT and access to the Knowledge Sharing Platform

While it is important to examine innovative uses of technology, we should not lose sight of the fact that terrorists of all types are still exploiting the internet based on tried-and-tested methodologies. Yes, there is risk of use of new tech such as decentralised file-sharing but adoption of this is currently limited whilst traditional exploitation of platforms is still so prevalent. Terrorist operated websites are of particular concern. 

Large tech firms also face testing times due to global economic headwinds with potentially grave implications should terrorists redouble their efforts to evade content moderation at a time of reduced investment in public policy and content moderation. Separately, the debate over end-to-end encryption is likely to gather pace next year as we all try to strike a balance between upholding privacy and stopping the criminal exploitation of this technology.  

We're fortunate to work in a vibrant community of experts in technology and counterterrorism all focused on delivering impact through capacity building and the development of content moderation technologies. Next year we intend to invest even more time and resource in developing innovative tech-driven solutions to tackle the terrorist use of the internet and look forward to working with you in achieving this. 

On behalf of all of us at Tech Against Terrorism, we wish you a restful holiday and a happy 2023! 

Other impacts include:

The UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee recognised our efforts to “foster collaboration with representatives of the technology industry”.

After undergoing mentorship with Tech Against Terrorism, this year we referred five platforms to the membership of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared Canadian government funding of up to $1.9 million for our Terrorist Content Analytics Platform, the world’s first centralised alert-platform of verified terrorist content. 

We convened government policymakers and technology partners from across West Africa to discuss Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism Online. Hosted in Accra in partnership with the GIFCT and Ghana’s Cyber Security Authority.