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Online Radicalisation

Aim: To provide a better understanding of radicalisation and recruitment on the Internet.

Political extremists and terrorists are increasingly using the internet as an instrument for radicalisation and recruitment.

The Challenge of Online Radicalisation examined the different technical options for making ‘radical’ internet content unavailable, concluding that all are either crude, expensive or counter-productive.

It evaluated strategies which go beyond ‘pulling the plug’, and examined proposals to :

  • Deter the producers of extremist materials
  • Give users the keys to self-regulate their online communities
  • Reduce the appeal of extremist  messages through education
  • Promote positive messages

The Challenge of Online Radicalisation was the first systematic effort to bring together industry, experts and government on the issue of online radicalisation.

The project was carried out in partnership with the Community Security Trust.

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 2009 ICSR report on online radicalisation is available here.