Partnership with Tech Against Terrorism

Knowledge sharing is one of the key areas of focus for the GIFCT. Our companies have been sharing best practices around counterterrorism for several years, in recent months the GIFCT has provided a more formal structure to accelerate and strengthen this work, in particular focusing on knowledge sharing with smaller tech companies. One of the GIFCT's key partners in enhancing our work in this area is Tech Against Terrorism.

Tech Against Terrorism is a public-private partnership which was originally launched by the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (UN CTED) in 2016. The first of its kind, this initiative is recognised by the United Nations Security Council as an exemplar in working with technology companies to tackle the terrorist exploitation of the internet whilst respecting human rights. In particular, Tech Against Terrorism works with UN Member States, global technology companies, civil society, and academia to:

  • Provide practical resources and guidance whilst promoting knowledge-sharing within the tech industry
  • Offer a think tank environment and encourage peer learning and support
  • Develop links between the tech sector, government, civil society, and academia regarding counter-terrorism
  • Promote excellence in understanding how terrorists exploit internet services for strategic, operational, and tactical purposes

The work of Tech Against Terrorism has been recognised by UN Security Council Resolutions as well as the “Comprehensive International Framework to Counter Terrorist Narratives” that calls for improved public-private co-operation regarding tackling terrorist exploitation of the internet.

One of Tech Against Terrorism's main areas of focus is on supporting smaller tech platforms to tackle terrorist exploitation of their services whilst respecting human rights. The displacement of terrorist activity from larger platforms has accelerated the trend towards exploitation of the smaller platforms. At the same time, often the smaller tech platforms are particularly vulnerable because they do not necessarily have the resources or know-how tackle this alone. Furthermore, the ease of replication of many technologies such as content-pasting means that there is an ever-increasing number of platforms for terrorists to target. In some cases, terrorists have also developed their own technologies. Those of particular concern include social media, file-sharing, link-shortening, content storage, blockchain, video-sharing, content-pasting, archiving, blogging, fintech, e-commerce, encrypted messaging, VPNs, gaming, and email services.

Academic Research Network

Phase 2 - Partnership with The Global Network on Extremism and Technology (Present)

In January 2020, GIFCT will begin Phase 2 of support for its academic research network, led by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR), based at Kings College London. ICSR will establish the Global Network on Extremism and Technology (GNET) and bring together an international consortium of leading academic institutions and experts to study and share findings on combating terrorist and violent extremist use of digital platforms. GNET will build on Phase 1 of the GIFCT academic research network known as the Global Research Network on Terrorism and Technology, facilitating inclusion of a wider network of academic institutions and think tanks as well as collaboration with the experts involved in Phase 1.

Phase 1 - Partnership with Global Research Network on Terrorism and Technology (2017-2019)

For the first phase of the Academic Research Network, GIFCT supported a Global Research Network on Terrorism and Technology aimed at developing research and providing policy recommendations around the prevention of terrorist exploitation of technology. The research conducted by this network sought to better understand radicalisation, recruitment and the myriad of ways terrorist entities use the digital space. As a result, GRNTT produced 13 papers based on the conducted research, hosted two international conferences to share and discuss new findings.

The first phase was led by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in the UK and brought together partners from around the world, including the Brookings Institution (US), the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (Netherlands), Swansea University (UK), the Observer Research Foundation (India), the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (Israel), the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (Indonesia) and Policy Center for the New South, formerly OCP Policy Center (Morocco).

Current GRNTT produced publications include: 

Paper No. 1 - Public–Private Collaboration to Counter the Use of the Internet for Terrorist Purposes: What Can be Learnt from Efforts on Terrorist Financing?

Paper No. 2 - A Study of Outlinks Contained in Tweets Mentioning Rumiyah 

Paper No. 3 - Shedding Light on Terrorist and Extremist Content Removal 

Paper No. 4 - Following the Whack-a-Mole Britain First’s Visual Strategy from Facebook to Gab 

Paper No. 5 - The Evolution of Online Violent Extremism in Indonesia and the Philippines 

Paper No. 6 - Mapping the Jihadist Information Ecosystem: Towards the Next Generation of Disruption Capability

Paper No. 7 - Terrorist Definitions and Designations Lists: What Technology Companies Need to Know 

Paper No. 8 - Radical Filter Bubbles Social Media Personalisation Algorithms and Extremist Content

Paper No. 9 - The International Cyber Terrorism Regulation Project

Paper No. 10 - Social Media and Terrorist Financing What are the Vulnerabilities and How Could Public and Private Sectors Collaborate Better? 

Paper No. 11 - The Conflict in Jammu and Kashmir and the Convergence of Technology and Terrorism

Paper No. 12 - Towards a Framework for Post-Terrorist Incident Communications Strategies

Paper No. 13 - Transnational Lessons from Terrorist Use of Social Media in South Asia

More information about GNET's research efforts coming soon!