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The Challenge of Online Radicalisation: A Strategy for Action

09/03/2010

Political extremists and terrorists are increasingly using the internet as an instrument for radicalisation and recruitment. What can be done to counter their activities? The Challenge of Online Radicalisation examines the different technical options for making ‘radical’ internet content unavailable, concluding that they all are either crude, expensive or counter-productive. It sets out a new, innovative strategy which goes beyond ‘pulling the plug’, developing concrete proposals aimed at:

  • Studying how to deter the producers of extremist materials
  • Giving users the keys to self-regulate their online communities
  • Reducing the appeal of extremist messages through education
  • Promoting positive messages

The Challenge of Online Radicalisation results from the first systematic effort to bring together industry, experts and government on the issue of online radicalisation. Its insights and recommendations are certain to be of great interest to experts and policymakers around the world.

First Reactions

‘This report is a significant advance on all that has gone before, it opens a new dimension to debate…as though the adults had finally arived, and [the] squabbling children had been sent back to their respective naughty corners. (John Ozimek, The Guardian, 19 March 2009)

‘I found this report particularly interesting… I served on the Harvard Berkman Center’s Internet Safety Technical Task Force which, like this British study, came to the conclusion that technological tools – while promising – are not the best first line of defense against a problem that has its roots in the real offline world. (Larry Magid, CNet News, 11 March 2009)

‘The solutions offered are correct. The problem is, they are not easy answers and whether we are looking at protecting personal information in a commercial organization or combating extremists, most institutions only want easy answers.’ (Kent Anderson, Politically Motivated Computer Crime and & Hacktivism, 10 March 2009)

An electronic PDF version of the paper is available for download below. Paper copies are available for purchase at £4 (€5 or $6) by contacting us directly.