Online Counterterrorism: The Role of the Public and Private Sectors

Panellists discuss how policymakers can best strike a balance between providing security and respecting individual rights.

Members event Recording
3 December 2018 — 6:00PM TO 7:00PM
Chatham House | 10 St James's Square | London | SW1Y 4LE

Terrorist groups have exploited the internet and social media to spread propaganda, making possible the indoctrination and recruitment of individuals to their cause and inspiring self-radicalized lone-wolf attacks. End-to-end encryption in cross-platform instant messaging apps have provided terrorists a secure means of communication. And despite the recommendations of institutions serving as the international standard for combating terrorist financing, such as the Financial Action Task Force, online payments still flow within and between different radical groups.

Counterterrorism responses require coordination between the public and private sectors to detect and dismantle radical networks and aid investigators in the aftermath of terrorist attacks. National and regional legislation to accelerate the removal of terrorist content online and artificial intelligence programs which automatically analyse video files and detect terrorist propaganda have been introduced in this regard. However, this has prompted debates about censorship due to the removal of content being used in neutral contexts.

  • Considering these difficulties, the panellists ask how can policymakers best strike a balance between providing security and respecting individual rights?

  • Do social media and tech companies need to take a more proactive role in denying online access to terrorists and their sympathisers?

  • And what legal, commercial and cybersecurity concerns might be raised by states through the legitimate pursuit of the protection of their citizens?

This event is in association with Women In International Security UK (WIIS UK).


Dr Stephanie Hare, Broadcaster and Researcher

Dr Dounia Mahlouly, Senior Research Associate, The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR)

Dr Erin Marie Saltman, Lead Policy Manager for Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism, Facebook

Chair: Dr Patricia Lewis, Research Director, International Security, Chatham House

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