Reader’s Digest – 24 September 2021

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


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Tech Against Terrorism Updates

  • Tech Against Terrorism submitted evidence to the UK Draft Online Safety Bill consultation. We highlight that:
    • The OSB lacks consideration for smaller platforms, and imposes stringent legal requirements with no regard for platform size which will harm the diversity and innovation that drives the tech sector
    • The OSB undermines the rule of law and due process
    • The OSB lacks proper and operationalisable definitions of what is considered terrorist content or “harmful online content”
    • The UK government should ensure that appropriate support mechanisms are created for platforms of all sizes and resources to ease compliance with the Bill

      You can read our full submission here. 
       
  • Our Open Source Intelligence Analyst, Deeba Shadnia, presented at a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) workshop on the “Use, handling and sharing of information and evidence in cross-border investigations in terrorism cases” for Tunisian law enforcement. 

Top Stories

  • The German police has foiled a plot to attack a synagogue in the Western city of Hagen on Yom Kippur, a Jewish holiday. The police deem that the attempted attack was Islamist terrorist motivated.
     
  • Facebook’s Head of Security Policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, has written about how Facebook removes new types of harmful networks.
     
  • Freedom House has released its Freedom of the Net 2021 report  Amongst other conclusions, the report finds that:
    • Global internet freedom has decreased for the 11th consecutive year
    • Governments and tech companies disagree on users’ rights
    • Freedom of expression online is under unprecedented strain
    • Democratic governments should ensure that regulations protect human rights online and preserve an open internet
       
  • If you want to learn more about online regulation and the related risks for freedom of expression online, check our Online Regulation Series Handbook covering emerging online regulation in 17 jurisdictions and outlining Tech Against Terrorism’s recommendations for policymakers.

Tech Policy

  • Refugees are buying groceries with iris scans. What could go wrong? This article, by Anna Kramer,  discusses how refugees in Jordan pay for groceries with iris scans, which could have dire future consequences for their privacy. Refugee advocates explain how the home countries of refugees may have a vested interest in obtaining the records of their previous citizens, which may pose a serious risk to the refugees in question. The article also highlights the issue of consent to using iris scans, as it would be very hard for a refugee to say no to their main means of receiving food and humanitarian aid. The article emphasises that technology may not be the best solution for this problem and that we should pay more care in findings a technological solution to these complex issues. (Kramer, Protocol, 16.09.2021).

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