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February 22, 10

NEWS / UN joins forces with computer giants to tackle Internet terrorism

22 February 2010 – The United Nations and computer giants, including Microsoft and Google, are joining forces to identify ways to combat terrorists’ use of the Internet to recruit members, organize criminal acts and raise money.
The UN Working Group on Countering the Use of the Internet for Terrorist Purposes is holding talks with CISCO, Symantec and others in the United States city of Seattle to examine the technical issues involved in the issue.

There is a high level of crime on the Internet, and “it is essential that you bring in the private sector, [which is] an essential partner in moving forward,” Richard Barrett, who co-chairs the Working Group, told the UN News Centre.

The two-day meeting which started today comes on the heels of a gathering last month in Berlin, Germany, where participants examined laws currently in place regarding direct attacks on networks and computer systems.

Member States have yet to agree on a precise definition of “terrorism.” This complicates discussions on possible legal frameworks to prevent or curtail terrorists’ use of the Internet due to the resulting questions over possible infringements on the freedom of speech and human rights, Mr. Barrett noted.

Currently, the UN is the only international organization working on the links between the Internet and terrorism, said Jean-Paul Laborde, who heads the UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF).

That body was set up in 2006 and brings together two dozen UN entities, working under mandates from the General Assembly, the Security Council and various specialized agencies, funds and programmes.

The Working Group on curbing Internet terrorism is like “nothing which has been done before by any organization at the global level,” Mr. Laborde said.

There is “added value” in bringing together Members States, several UN departments and organizations, such as the European Union (EU) and the Council of Europe, to tackle the problem, he noted.

A third meeting, delving into how the Internet can also be utilized to counter the appeal of terrorism, is scheduled to be held in the near future.

There are eight other CTITF working groups which focus on, among other issues, protecting human rights while countering terrorism and conflict prevention and resolution.




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