Short Bytes: ISIS is able to spread its online propaganda effectively because it has nothing to fear — these views were expressed by Jared Cohen, Google’s head of ideas, during his talk on the ways to prevent the terrorist group from expanding in the open web. He said that ISIS has been able to spread information online and strict actions from the technology companies and law enforcement agencies are the need of the hour.
While hacktivist groups like Anonymous are busy fighting ISIS online and busting ISIS-affiliated Twitter accounts, the terrorist group still manages to find new ways on the traditional web. Calling it impossible to stop ISIS from using the dark web and TOR, Google head said that they must be contained on the dark web.
Cohen said: “What is new is that they’re operating without being pushed back in the same internet we all enjoy. So success looks like ISIS being contained to the dark web.”
With the clever use of the internet, ISIS has been able to exaggerate their size
ISIS is known for using the Internet in a clever manner to pick up the recruits and spread information using videos and conversations. This has helped the terrorist group, also known as Daesh and ISIL, to brainwash people far beyond the Middle East.
The terrorist group has also been able to run multiple social accounts and exaggerate their size. Just a basic knowledge of video editing and social media has enabled them to earn the tag of “pioneers” in the field of spreading terrorist propaganda. Thus, making themselves look larger than their actual numbers, ISIS is enjoying the new found ways to trouble the people all around the world. “But while the digital front is more complex, it could be where we can see greater short-term wins, so we should not neglect it,” Cohen said.
ISIS is “not a tech savvy organization”, but it should not be underestimated
Mr. Cohen was expressing his ideas during a talk with the Royan Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House. Cohen called ISIS a “not so tech savvy organization” and compared group’s tactics with spam and fraud. The same nature of ISIS website was unmasked by Anonymous hacktivists who were able to find basic flaws in the and take it down.
But the terrorist organization should not be underestimated, said Cohen. With each passing day, ISIS is learning more. Recently, it was reported that the terrorist organization has developed its own encrypted chatting apps. ISIS is already known to use the pre-existing instant messaging services like Telegram.
Direct action is needed to defeat ISIS on the digital front
However, banning ISIS completely from the open web is a monumental task and it can’t be done by Google single-handedly. It will need an equal participation from the law enforcement agencies and other technology companies.
Activities of the organization on social media have also put popular networks like Twitter and Facebook in a difficult position. Well, as soon as their accounts are closed, new Twitter handles come into existence. While these companies face a direct choice between terrorist propaganda and an environment of free speech, Cohen that ISIS social media accounts must be removed as fast as possible.
The approach to completely kick the organization off the open web is an exhaustive one and it would also require a direct attack on its dark web operations. “What Isis is doing is reflective of the times, as opposed to some sort of new sophistication that magically appeared,” Cohen said.
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Source: Chatham house