Our weekly review of articles on terrorist and violent extremist use of the internet, counterterrorism, digital rights, and tech policy.


Tech Against Terrorism Updates

  • Tech Against Terrorism has closed registration for our upcoming webinar, “The Nexus Between Violent Extremism and Conspiracy Theory Networks Online”, as a part of our TAT & GIFCT E-Learning Webinar Series. For those unable to register, we will be recording the session, so please get in touch with us if you would like to receive the recording. 
     
  • Tech Against Terrorism’s research on far-right videogame recreations of terrorist attacks was mentioned in an article by CityAM.

Top Stories

  • The United States Department of State has designated Islamic State affiliates in Mozambique (ISIS-Mozambique) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (ISIS -DRC) as foreign terrorist organisations.
     
  • The United Nations Secretary-General has released its report on the Activities of the United Nations system in implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which marks the commencement of three months of negotiations over the updated UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (GCTS).
     
  • TikTok has implemented a new feature to encourage “respect and kindness” among users on the platform. A new comment prompt will ask people to reconsider posting a comment that might be seen as inappropriate or unkind, and remind users about their Community Guidelines.
     
  • Google and messaging app Viber have said that they are reviewing advertisements run by a Myanmar military-backed telecommunications firm, following the February 1 Myanmar coup.  Facebook, has previously banned the Myanmar military and state-controlled media services from its platforms.

Tech Policy

  • Why Big Tech was slow to fight home-grown extremists: Issie Lapowsky analyses whether bigger tech companies were “slow” to respond to the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January.  Lapowsky looks at how moderating far-right terrorist content is often more difficult than content from the Islamic State. She outlines that whereas nation-states and the UN have designation lists that provide platforms with the legal grounding to take measures against Islamist terrorist groups, there are far fewer far-right terrorist groups proscribed globally (and one foreign far-right terrorist organisation in the US).  (Lapowsky, Protocol, 08.03.21).
     
  • On this topic, we are also listening to Techdirt’s podcast episode with Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt on the “tech-lash”.  
     
  • Women built the tech industry. Then they were pushed out: This article, by Emma Goldberg, an International Fellow at the University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies, discusses the gender norms in the tech sector, and the need for action to change women’s role and experience of working in this area. the article mentions two examples of the challenges women face when entering and working in the tech sector, namely, sexual harassment claims and algorithms containing inherent bias against women. Goldberg points to initiatives that could help with overcoming these gender norms, such as the organisation Girls Who Code and Algorithmic Justice League.

Counterterrorism

  • New app launched for reporting terrorist material as extremists “exploit pandemic” : This article by Lizzie Dearden looks at the “iREPORTit” app, which allows individuals to upload terrorist material after which it will be flagged to the national Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU). The head of UK  counterterror policing stated that when the content referred to them violates the UK terrorism legislation, they will try and remove such content, even when this is hosted on platforms outside of the UK. The app will have a three-month trial period, after which the CTIRU will evaluate whether the app can become permanent based on the number of downloads and referrals. (Dearden, The Independent, 23.03.21).
     
  • On this topic, we are listening to a Dutch podcast called, De Dienst, on the inner workings of the Netherlands’ intelligence agency, the Algemene Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst (AIVD).

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