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Report: public-private approach needed to reduce terrorist Internet use

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Reducing the use of the Internet by terrorists requires a public-private approach to the problem, according to a report (.pdf) published this month by the European Union-funded Clean IT project. Towards that end, the report recommends 13 best practices that could reduce terrorist use of the Internet in the EU, including several technology-based solutions such as flagging mechanisms and an end-user browser mechanism.

Flagging would be a way to notify Internet companies about potential terrorist use of their websites, the report states--a method that would build on the flagging systems already in place on many user-generated content platforms.

But while content portals like social networks offer flagging opportunities, other platforms like hosted websites often lack such a mechanism, states the report. In those situations, the report advocates that a browser-based reporting mechanism be developed to allow end users to report terrorist use of the Internet. 

"This mechanism should also be considered for the browsers of mobile devices and their operating systems. While being developed, at for example the EU-level, the mechanism should have an open architecture, allowing non-EU organizations to start using it as well later on," the report says.

Another best practice the report calls out is that "some Internet companies share information on other kinds of abuse of their network with each other, using a trusted intermediate partner organization" and that this private sector practice should be extended to include confirmed illegal terrorist use of the Internet.

Initiated in June 2011 with the financial support of the European Commission, the Clean IT project's report is the result of a structured public-private dialogue between government representatives, academics, Internet industry, Internet users and non-governmental organizations in the EU.The project team facilitated the dialogue through six two-day meetings (in Amsterdam, Madrid, Brussels, Berlin, Utrecht and Vienna) in which participants held open discussions on how to reduce terrorist use of the Internet. The report reflects the consensus views of the participants.

For more:
-read the report (.pdf)

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