Countering the Use of the Internet for Terrorist Purposes
Although the benefits to modern society of the Internet are numerous, it must also be recognized that the same technology which facilitates such communication can also be exploited by terrorists. The Internet can be used for the radicalization and recruitment of terrorists; dissemination of illegal content; incitement to commit acts of terrorism; facilitating communication between terrorist actors; and the training of potential recruits.
Pursuant to the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (A/RES/60/288) of September 2006, Member States began to work with the United Nations to explore ways and means to coordinate efforts at the international and regional levels to counter terrorism in all its forms and manifestations on the Internet; and in particular, to counter the use of the Internet as a tool for the spread of terrorism. Given the highly specialized and technical nature of cases involving the use of the internet, it is particularly important that UNODC serve as a resource to Member States.
With this in mind, in 2011, UNODC set about developing a new technical assistance tool on The Use of the Internet for Terrorist Purposes, in collaboration with the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF). UNODC convened two meetings of international experts in Vienna in October 2011 and February 2012, in order to draw on the collective experiences of Member States, specialized institutions and individual experts representing different geographic regions and legal approaches.
The publication, launched on 22 October in Vienna, aims to provide practical guidance for policy makers, investigators and prosecutors on effective criminal justice responses to cases involving the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes.
The tool is designed to be a stand-alone resource for providing specialized training in this emerging subject area as well as to supplement existing UNODC training tools, and highlights best practices including engagement with the community of users and the creation of a public-private dialogue that would act as a deterrent against radicalization and incitement through the Internet and would help facilitate early warnings and detection of terrorism-related content.