On 24 and 25 January 2018, a workshop on information and communications technologies (ICT) and counter-terrorism (CT) was held in Bangkok. Co-hosted by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea and Thailand, this was the 2nd Asia ICT and CT Dialogue involving the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) with a focus on exploring practical ways to strengthen the implementation of all relevant Security Council resolutions in this area.
In his address to the workshop, Mr. Andrei Kovalenko, Director in charge of the Administration and Information Office of CTED, outlined the role and activities of the Executive Directorate.
“Terrorists and terrorist groups exploit the Internet and social media not only to commit terrorist acts, but also to facilitate a wide range of terrorist activities. As part of the mandate given to us by the Security Council, CTED is involved in several initiatives that seek to address this issue.”
Mr. Kovalenko described two of these initiatives more in detail: In 2016, CTED together with Swiss non-governmental organization ICT4Peace had launched a joint project on private-sector engagement in responding to the use and abuse of ICT for terrorist purposes. The project, called Tech Against Terrorism (www.techagainstterrorism.org) and involving major Internet and social media platforms, had been recognized by several Security Council resolutions, including 2395 (2017) and 2396 (2017). Another project, undertaken with the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), focused on strengthening international cooperation among prosecutors in UN Member States engaged in counter-terrorism issues, specifically by enhancing prosecutors’ capacity to obtain digital evidence in timely manner.
In the Bangkok workshop, representatives from Member States, the private sector, civil society, and academia exchanged views on a range of challenges, including online radicalization and violent extremism, digital evidence and mutual legal assistance, the protection of critical infrastructure against terrorist attacks, and private-sector engagement and self-regulation.
Whereas the first workshop – held in Jeju, Republic of Korea, in May 2017 – had enabled participants to discuss current challenges, the second gathering deepened participants’ understanding of certain critical themes. Panellists noted that technology was developing at an overwhelming speed, stressing the need to provide immediate and urgent responses to terrorists’ exploitation of ICT. CTED emphasized the need for an all-of-society, comprehensive approach, as well as the need to address conditions conducive to the spread of violent extremism that could be conducive to terrorism, including by encouraging dialogue and collaboration with civil society and other relevant stakeholders.
It is anticipated that the third workshop (tentatively scheduled for the second half of 2018) will produce an agreement on general principles, as well as recommendations for future work in this area.
Additional photos from the workshop in Bangkok are available on our Flickr page, whereas more information about ICT and counter-terrorism can be found on the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee/CTED website.