Joanna Shields, UK’s minister of Internet Security, speaks about new dynamics of terrorism using technology that also ask for a different kind of response.
“We tend to believe that technology and innovation can lead to a better world, but there are some dark clouds on the horizon", Shields opens her talk. The very idea of the Internet bringing people together is being undercut by extremist and terrorist forces turning it into an eco chamber of hate and intolerance. Groups like Daesh are masters of the craft.
Daesh understands propaganda, Shields says. They use consistent branding, taglines and symbols. “You are one of us, claim your place in history" – that's their recruiting message spread in 20 different languages. They produce a steady stream of videos und marketing content and use social media tactics to increase their reach. They also simulate followers using bots so that it appears as if they had a broader support.
We need a cohesive and committed response that goes beyond the government's physical efforts, Shields states. Radicalization is a journey. We need to stop the messages that foster hate. We need to promote counter-speach and give it a greater voice.
In regards to extremist and terrorist content, more ideas are needed. However, Shields gives some examples how the tech community could help and engage in the cause:
1) Help community and civil society groups to create, deliver and amplify alternative content that undercuts the Daesh brand
2) Support established government partnership organizations that cooperate to combat online extremism
3) Create innovative industry solutions to scale the identification and removal of terrorist content and tackle automatic bots
4) Consider the danger of extremist or terrorist propaganda when developing products so they become safe by design.
5) Support education programs to build digital resilience, help people make informed choices and increase awareness
6) Empower the user community with better tools to report and take down harmful content.
Make this agenda your own. “Freedom of expression and freedom of harm are two ideals that can exist side by side”, Shields believes. “The technology that was developed to unite us, must not divide us.”