UN Report Calls For More Surveillance To Combat Internet Terrorism

The United Nations has called for surveillance to be expanded in order to combat the threat from Internet terrorism.

A report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said that the Internet was used to recruit and finance terrorist operations as well as to train and incite followers and spread propaganda.

The 148 page report entitled, ‘The use of the Internet for terrorist purposes’, was produced with the help of the UN’s Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force and was part funded by the UK government.

Internet Terrorism a Problem

“Potential terrorists use advanced communications technology often involving the Internet to reach a worldwide audience with relative anonymity and at a low cost,” said UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov. “Just as Internet use among regular, lawful citizens has increased in the past few years, terrorist organisations also make extensive use of this indispensable global network for many different purposes.”

The report used detailed evidence from successful operations against terror groups, such as email and message encryption, and aimed to show member states how to make best use of the Internet when investigating and prosecuting terrorist organisations. It said that more comprehensive surveillance would make it easier to locate and investigate groups and sympathisers.

Terrorist causes often disregard national borders and the report said that the differences in legislation between various countries governing how much data ISPs can retain was one of the main difficulties in executing investigations. It also recommended greater cooperation between the private sector and criminal justice systems.

Social networks in particular have been deemed to be a terrorist threat by the UK government, which has also announced plans for the blacklisting of websites on terrorism and extremism grounds.

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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