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UN Task Force looks at legal aspects of curtailing Internet terrorism

Brussels, 28 January 2010 (UN Regional Information Centre) -- Reviewing existing and possible legal measures to prevent or curtail the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes was the focus of a two-day workshop convened by the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) in Berlin on 25-26 January. The meeting co-organized and hosted by the German Federal Foreign Office brought together experts from Member States, United Nations agencies, regional organizations, including the representatives of various European institutions, as well as from, academia and civil society.

Participants focused on exchanging experience on the effectiveness of existing legal measures related to the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes in areas such as propaganda and incitement, recruitment, organizing terrorist acts, financing of terrorism as well as direct attacks on networks and computer systems.
The workshop forms part of a major project undertaken by the CTITF through its Working Group on Countering the Use of the Internet for Terrorist Purposes aiming at supporting Member States in their efforts to deal with the terrorist use of the Internet.

The Task Force has taken the lead in bringing together various experts – representatives of international organizations, industry and civil society -- in the field to look at the legal, technical, and human rights aspects of the issue The ultimate purpose is to assist Member States by giving them a picture of the current nature of the challenge and offer possible policy guidelines.
The Berlin workshop follows a meeting of the various stakeholders held in November 2008 which resulted in taking a snapshot of how the Internet was used for terrorist purposes. Subsequent workshops in February 2010 on “technical aspects” (which will take place in partnership with the private sector) and in early summer 2010 on the issue of “counter narratives” will complete the project. The results are to be compiled and analyzed, finally to be published in a comprehensive practical guide.
The Working Group on Countering the Use of the Internet for Terrorist Purposes is one of the eight working groups and initiatives within the CTITF. The Task Force itself was set up by the Secretary-General in 2005 and brings together 24 United Nations system entities and Interpol. The Task Force assists Member States with the implementation of the United Nations global counter-terrorism strategy adopted by the General Assembly in September 2006.
One of the areas Member States have shown concern for is the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes and in fact in the strategy they pledged to work with the United Nations to “explore ways and means to coordinate efforts at the international and regional level to counter terrorism in all its forms and manifestations on the Internet, and use the Internet as a tool for countering the spread of terrorism, while recognizing that States may require assistance in this regard.”

Member States expressed support and appreciation for the work of the Task Force when they met to examine progress in the implementation of the Strategy in September 2008. Acting on the request of Member States, in June 2009, the Secretary-General made initial arrangements to institutionalize the Task Force by establishing a CTITF-Secretariat in the Department of Political Affairs (DPA). In December 2009, the General Assembly passed a resolution requesting the Secretary-General to finalize
the institutionalization of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force.
For more information on the work of the CTITF and its working groups please visit: