The use of the internet by terrorist organizations has proven to be a vexing problem for policymakers. This week’s Cyber Brief highlights this issue with four FOIA releases retrieved from the Department of State Virtual Reading Room as well as a UN report on the terrorist use of the internet, the Department of State’s International Cyberspace Policy published in 2016, testimony by Michael Smith before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism on the Islamic State’s online recruitment campaign, and testimony by Alberto Fernandez as the Coordinator for the State Department’s Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
New to the Vault
This memo provides the US input for a UN working group on countering terrorist use of the internet. The input provides the State Department’s view of al-Qa’ida internet use for intelligence gathering and distribution of information as well as positions on balancing legal measures limiting terrorist internet activity against concerns for human rights and freedom of expression.
In this testimony Alberto Fernandez explains CSCC operations, mission, and impact on countering terrorist use of internet communication. Fernandez also (page 11) states that as of his testimony CSCC did not have metrics for evaluating operational effectiveness.
This cable summarizes the Washington Meeting of G8 Roma-Lyon Group of Counterterrorism and Counter-Crime. The summary suggests that cyber-crime and counterterrorism were discussed, but terrorist use of the internet was not.
This document provides statistics on the Bureau of Counterterrorism’s Twitter account.
This email chain communicates analysis of the “Bureau of Counterterrorism Monthly Social Media Report December 1, 2016 - January 6, 2017”.
From the Vault
This document reports on how terror groups use the internet as well as multiple aspects of internet counter-terrorism including the frameworks within which nations have to work, investigative efforts, prosecutions, and cooperation.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 required the State Department to report on its activities taken in support of the President's International Strategy for Cyberspace. This report concerns, inter alia, the Department's efforts with regard to the digital economy, international security, promotion of cyber due diligence, combating cybercrime, Internet freedom, and the mainstreaming of cyber issues in the Department of State.
United States Congress, Prepared testimony of Michael S. Smith II Terrorism Analyst Before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism Hearing titled "Extremist Content and Russian Disinformation Online: Working with Tech to Find Solutions", October 31, 2017. Unclassified.
This testimony examines the use of the internet and social media by Russian Intelligence Agencies and extremist groups as well as strategies to counter threatening activity.