Feeds

Google throws weight behind network of 'reformed terrorists'

Choc Factory think tank dips elbows in counter-radicalisation

The essential guide to IT transformation

Google has confirmed its support for an online network made up of former terrorists and victims of extremism.

Others involved in the Against Violent Extremism (AVE) group include ex-members of the white power movement from the US, Swedish neo-Nazis and erstwhile Islamist extremists from Indonesia.

The AVE group was launched in New York by the London-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue yesterday.

Google Ideas, the ad giant's think-tank wing – which "convenes unorthodox stakeholders, commissions research, and seeds initiatives to explore the role that technology can play in tackling some of the toughest human challenges" – is backing the network.

Support has also been given by the Gen Next Foundation and other non-profit and private sector partners.

"The idea for this network first came about last summer when we hosted the Summit Against Violent Extremism in Dublin. We wanted to initiate a global conversation on how best to prevent youth from becoming radicalised," said Google Ideas' director Jared Cohen.

"In some ways, it was a bit of an experiment to see if we could get so-called 'formers' – those who had renounced their previous lives of violent extremism – and survivors of such violence to come together in one place."

He added: "To reframe the issue of counter-radicalisation, we decided to spotlight formers as positive role models for youth. We also knew that there has traditionally been an over-reliance on governments to tackle these problems, so we wanted to see what diverse groups outside the public sector could offer."

The main purpose of the online network is to urge young people not to become radicalised, Cohen said.

In the UK, consecutive Home Office ministers have form on trying to prevent extremists from using the internet to recruit youths to their cause.

Home Secretary Theresa May published the Coalition's counter-terrorism strategy in July 2011, which outlined its concerns about online radicalisation.

It said:

Terrorists are increasingly using online technology, including Google Earth/Street View for operational planning. The marauding attacks in Mumbai in 2008 were directed by people using off-the-shelf secure communications technology to stay in contact with each other.

Software to encrypt mobile phone voice and SMS functions is widely available and improving. Peer to peer networks and torrents (i.e. files shared between individual computers on a network) can be used to distribute files and information rapidly and securely.

Darknets (ie, private internet communities which enable users to share content securely and anonymously) are likely to become more popular. Cloud computing offers new, potentially more robust means for storing, sharing and distributing material online. It can be encrypted and configured to work with new generation mobile devices, leaving little or no trace of the data behind.

The same report noted that governments could not tackle such a problem alone and said it needed help to make the internet a "more hostile" place for terrorists.

"We endorse and will facilitate the development of international online media hubs for the distribution of material that counters terrorist propaganda," the strategy said.

The same report also admitted that most terrorist material found online goes "unchallenged", a fact demonstrated only too well by Norwegian mass murderer and far-right extremist Anders Breivik, who published his views online prior to slaying 77 people. Breivik is currently on trial in Oslo. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft exits climate denier lobby group
ALEC will have to do without Redmond, it seems
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?