Reader’s Digest – 13 May 2022

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


Webinar Alert!

  • Join us on Tuesday 24 May at 5PM BST for our next TAT-GIFCT webinar, “Moderation Online: Beyond Content”. More information about the speakers and the agenda will be shared soon. You can register here!

Updates

  • Tech Against Terrorism is excited to announce it is a member of Airbnb’s newly launched Trust and Safety Advisory Coalition. This coalition of 22 organisations who will work with Airbnb to promote trust and safety for the Airbnb community and its users.
     
  • On 10 May, our Director Adam Hadley testified in front of a Canadian House of Commons committee hearing on ideologically motivated violent extremism. His remarks focused on Canadian threat assessments and our support mechanisms for the tech sector, including the Terrorist Content Analytics Platform (TCAP) sponsored by Public Safety Canada

    The hearing was covered in an article by CBC News and featured a summary of Adam Hadley’s remarks highlighting the threat of terrorist and violent extremist exploitation of smaller platforms.
     
  • Tech Against Terrorism Executive Director Adam Hadley was quoted in Euractiv’s Tech Brief following the European Commission’s proposal to address child sexual abuse material online, expressing concerns around its “harm to online security and privacy” stating it is “likely to create a surveillance system infringing on EU citizens’ right to privacy.”
     
  • The Knowledge Sharing Platform (KSP) now hosts the New Zealand government’s Transparency Report. This is the first report of its kind for New Zealand, which sets out the legal framework, as well as the processes and systems that New Zealand uses to find and remove terrorist and violent extremist content online, and the outcomes in 2021. If you are registered for the KSP you can find it here.
     
  • We’re proud that the TCAP has reached a new milestone in countering terrorist use of the internet. Since November 2020, we have now identified over 30,000 URLs containing terrorist content and alerted almost 17,000 URLs to 70 tech companies. 92% of this content is now offline.

The Tech Against Terrorism Podcast

  • Tune in to “S2E12: The TCAP: A Tool to Tackle Terrorist Content” here or wherever you get your podcasts.

    In our final episode of the series, our host Anne Craanen, speaks to the founder of JustPaste.It Mariusz Żurawek, Head of Policy and Research at Tech Against Terrorism Jacob Berntsson, and Senior Product Manager of the Terrorist Content Analytics Platform (TCAP), Sophie Laitt.

    They discuss the challenges in moderating content, especially on small tech platforms such as JustPaste.It, and how the TCAP was created to help content moderators identify and remove terrorist content more effectively. 

Top Stories

  • Kazakhstan has passed a bill requiring foreign social media companies to set up offices and register in Kazakhstan in order to operate. Social media companies will be obliged to respond to state orders to delete content deemed “cyberbullying” within 24 hours.

    You can read Tech Against Terrorism’s analysis of Kazakhstan’s Online Regulatory framework here.
     
  • In India, virtual private network (VPN) companies will be required to collect customer data, and maintain it for five years or more, under a new national directive from the country’s Computer Emergency Response Team.

    To read more about India’s online regulatory landscape, you can find our analysis in our Online Regulation Series Handbook (p. 78) here.
     
  • A United States federal appeals court ruling has cleared the way for a Texas law that will allow any state resident banned from social media platforms to sue the platforms.
     
  • The Soufan Center has published an insightful brief detailing the unique threat the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) poses to Pakistan.
     
  • The UK Online Safety Bill threatens to hamper small businesses with increased costs in order to comply with new laws, stifling competition and start-ups, according to Gill Whitehead, the first head of the UK Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum.

    To read more about the UK’s online regulatory landscape, you can find our analysis in our Online Regulation Series here and our response to the UK Online Safety Bill consultation here.

Tech Policy

  • New EU rules would require chat apps to scan private messages for child abuse. The European Commission has proposed new regulation that would require messaging apps offering end-to-end encryption like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to scan users’ private messages for child sexual abuse material (CSAM). After a draft of the regulation leaked earlier this week, privacy experts condemned it as “sophisticated mass surveillance”. The regulation would establish new obligations for “online service providers” – a broad category including app stores, hosting services, and communications apps. Communications services like WhatsApp, Signal, and Facebook Messenger would be faced with the most extreme obligations. Following a “detection order” from the European Union, communications services would be required to scan users’ messages to look for known and new CSAM, as well as signs of grooming behaviour. Such detection orders could be used invasively to target many users and more generalised surveillance and undermine end-to-end encryption. (James Vincent, The Verge, 11.05.2022.)

    Tech Against Terrorism has recently published a report on end-to-end encryption (E2EE), outlining recommendations for governments and tech companies to counter criminal use of E2EE whist safeguarding online privacy and security. You can read the report here

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