In September 2019 Tech Against Terrorism participated in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) week in New York. During the week, Tech Against Terrorism organised one side event, one Advisory Group meeting, and provided input in several high-level meetings related to terrorist use of the internet. These activities ensured vital feedback with regards to the development of the Terrorist Content Analytics Platform (TCAP), the reconvening of Tech Against Terrorism Advisory Group and Experts Committee, and strengthened working relationships with key partners.


Summary of activities organised by Tech Against Terrorism during UNGA week:

  1. Side event and consultation on the TCAP co-organised with UN CTED
  2. Governance meeting at the offices of UN CTED


Summary of events and high-level meetings attended by Tech Against Terrorism:

  1. Christchurch Call High-Level Meeting and Leaders’ Dialogue, organised by New Zealand, Jordan, and France: Director Adam Hadley attended
  2. Global Counter Terrorism Forum (GCTF) and Institute for Strategic Dialogue side event, Policy Toolkit on the Zurich-London Recommendations: Director Adam Hadley participated in a panel discussion
  3. Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) and UN CTED side event: Tech Against Terrorism team participated
  4. Christchurch Call research workshop organised by New Zealand: Research Manager Jacob Berntsson participated
  5. The Global Rise of Radical Right Wing Extremism, organised by the Soufan Center: Tech Against Terrorism team participated

Side event on the Terrorist Content Analytics Platform:

On 24 September Tech Against Terrorism convened a side event with UN CTED. The side event was an introductory consultation meeting on the Terrorist Content Analytics Platform (TCAP), which Tech Against Terrorism is developing with support from the Government of Canada. The meeting was attended by members of civil society, academia, the tech sector, as well as government and inter-governmental organisations, whose feedback will help guide the development of the Platform.

Key recommendations for users and content moderators:

  • Incorporate mental health safeguards in the product development
  • Consider building in mechanisms to allow users to track their usage patterns – e.g. a “screentime” function
  • Recruit a diverse academic advisory board
  • Insert mechanisms to ensure that potential biases are not reflected in the database
 


Reminder: The Terrorist Content Analytics Platform (TCAP)

 

1) What is the TCAP?

The TCAP will be a secure online platform that hosts terrorist material including verified terrorist content (imagery, video, PDFs, URLs, audio) collected from open-sources and existing datasets. Content on the TCAP will be verified by terrorist content specialists.

The purpose of the TCAP is to facilitate secure information sharing between platforms, academia, and data scientists. As well as archiving historical content to support academic analysis and the development of improved content classifiers, the TCAP will provide a real-time alert service to inform smaller internet platforms of public content discovered on their services. Furthermore the TCAP dataset will support third-party data scientists in developing more accurate and transparent algorithmic analytical efforts that can be deployed to support smaller internet platforms.

 

2) How will the TCAP support smaller platforms and other users?

a) Facilitate affordable information-sharing and alerts between internet platforms: The TCAP will support rapid sharing of content and URLs to alert smaller platforms to the existence of verified content generated by terrorist and violent extremist organisations

b) Bolster efforts to augment the analysis of terrorist content at scale: the centralised database and collaborative tools will provide a platform to support improved analysis of content informed by quantitative approaches and data science

c) Support tech companies in improving policies based on accessing content: Provide content moderators with a verified dataset in order to improve moderation policies and share emerging best practice

d) Facilitate the coordination of data-driven solutions to tackling TUI: The TCAP will support an ecosystem of 3rd party algorithmic content classifiers that facilitates more efficient and transparent deployment of data-driven solutions for smaller internet platforms

 

3) What considerations are we making when developing the TCAP?

To ensure that the TCAP is human rights compliant, we are taking the following into serious consideration:

  1. Rule of Law: our approach based on internationally recognised designation lists and normative approaches
  2. Transparency & Accuracy: We will recruit an independent academic advisory board to allow for content verification, and provide civil society oversight to allow for challenges to content included in the platform.
  3. Privacy & Security: We will verify all users who will pledge to not disseminate any content located on the TCAP, and ensure that personal identifiable information (PII) is not traceable
  4. Tech Platform Autonomy: Any alerts are on an advisory basis only and human verification and moderation will be required

Would you like to contribute?

Over the next months, we will be opening a consultation process open to civil society, researchers, and other key stakeholders will be able to share their feedback with us. More information will be shared shortly.