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Extremist Use of Social Media

Balancing Privacy & National Cybersecurity

Task Force 2017

Extremist Use of Social Media - Task Force report 2017

Evaluator

Paul Nicholas

Senior Director, Microsoft Trustworthy Computing

Faculty Adviser

Jessica Beyer

Jessica L. Beyer

Acting Assistant Professor

Task Force

  • Jane Birkeland
  • Jordan Johnson
  • Serena Eunbich Ko
  • Kristy Soo Jung Kwon
  • Taelim Leena Lee
  • Natalie Meek
  • Tae-Hyun Thomas Park
  • Phoibe purcell
  • Cameron Rosenberg
  • Hannah Ross
  • Rajeev Stephens
  • Marielle Trumbauer
  • Priya Uppal
  • Xingyue Yang
  • Julia Yoon

Because the realm of cybersecurity is constantly changing, there is a disconnection today between government and industry on the issues of privacy and national security. Industry and government must balance social media usage by activists and ordinary people with extremist and terrorist usage for recruitment and communication efforts.

ISSUE  DESCRIPTION

THE DISCONNECTION BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AND INDUSTRIES has MADE IT EASY FOR EXTREMISTS TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMs TO recruit and communicate. 

  • International terrorist groups, such as ISIS, use the Internet to great effect, recruiting potential members and communicating about attacks. Extremist Internet use includes savvy social media and mobile technology use. In response, the U.S. government has asked technology companies to help it manage this problem through use of content moderation, content monitoring, and providing law enforcement with backdoors into products.
  • Technology companies have attempted to assist the government in many of its requests, but also often “push back” over concerns that the government’s desire to monitor potential terrorists will lead to ordinary consumers’ rights to privacy and expression being violated. Law in the U.S. around this issue remains undeveloped.
  • There is a need of solution to allow law enforcement to protect citizens while also protecting the rights of activists and ordinary people.

POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS

  • The government should sponsor an ad-campaign that outlines how to know when someone is in communication with extremists via social media and advises individuals on how to approach the situation and report such instances. Moreover, early education of children and young adults should focus on Internet safety and how to recognize the signs of extremism online and in their peers.
  • Law enforcement and intelligence agencies should be given the authority to legally collect the information necessary for national security on any U.S. or non-U.S. person, if and only if, the person or persons in question present a clear and present danger or have close ties to someone who presents a clear and present danger.
  • The government should create an official trilateral summit that includes industry and civil society to enhance cybersecurity discourse. The summit should work towards shaping cybersecurity polices in relation to individual rights. Furthermore, the work of the summit should be shared with the public for transparency.
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