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We are very excited to announce that we are relaunching the Tech Against Terrorism podcast on 16 February 2022 for a new 12-episode season! Season 2 is a weekly deep dive into the evolving use of the internet by terrorists and violent extremists, how this relates to real world harms, and what can be done to support the tech sector to disrupt this threat. Throughout the season, our host, Anne Craanen, Senior Research Analyst at Tech Against Terrorism, speaks to academics, counterterrorism practitioners, journalists, government and tech sector representatives, as well as human rights advocates for their insights on combatting this complex challenge. We also bring in experts from the TAT team to discuss their perspectives on how a topic relates to the daily work that they do; countering terrorist and violent extremist use of the internet, whilst respecting human rights.

We first delve into “case studies”, exploring how the Taliban’s online media strategy has shifted following their takeover of Afghanistan, uncovering the online network of neo-Nazi accelerationist groups behind a foiled terrorist plot in Texas, and discussing whether the IS prison break in al-Hasakah, Syria, on 20 January 2022, is a propaganda victory that may trigger the group’s resurgence. In our first episode, we chat to leading terrorism experts Colin P. Clarke and Charlie Winter on how the Taliban’s use of social media has evolved, how this compares with wider terrorist use of the internet, and the implications for tech companies moderating this content. We hope to give the listener a unique insight into the wide array of methods and online platforms used by terrorists and violent extremists across the ideological spectrum, learning from experts in the field how this is changing and why.

As the season progresses, we question the role of the internet in driving radicalisation, and the interaction between the online and offline realms. The second half of the season turns towards solutions and what tech companies and governments are doing to moderate terrorist and violent extremist content online. Starting with the UK’s Online Safety Bill, we discuss legislation by governments to regulate tech platforms and what tech companies are currently doing to counter terrorist content on their platforms.

Can big tech solve this problem with AI and machine learning algorithms? What is the impact on human rights such as freedom of expression? If governments could more effectively designate terrorist groups, would this provide tech companies with greater clarity and legal justification for removing terrorist content online? These are just some of the questions we hope our listeners will engage with and reflect on when considering the complex dilemmas Tech Against Terrorism and actors in this field face. While some of the topics we discuss are complex, our host will guide the listener through to ensure everyone interested in learning about terrorist and violent extremist use of the internet enjoys the podcast.