On 7 and 8 November 2018, the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) held a workshop related to information and communications technologies (ICT) and counter-terrorism, with a focus on Asia. Organized in Kuala Lumpur in cooperation with the Southeast Asia Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT) under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, this was the third ICT/counter-terrorism Asia Dialogue. Previous dialogues were held on 29-30 May 2017 (on Jeju Island, Republic of Korea), and on 24-25 January 2018 (in Bangkok, Kingdom of Thailand, with additional support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand).
Already in 2013, Security Council resolution 2129 noted the evolving nexus between terrorism and ICT, in particular the Internet, as well as the use of such technologies to commit terrorist acts and to facilitate such acts through their use to incite, recruit, fund, or plan terrorist acts. The abuse of ICT for terrorist purposes also includes recruitment of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs). The resolution directs CTED to continue to address this broad issue, in consultation with Member States, international, regional and subregional organizations, the private sector, and civil society, as well as to advise the Counter-Terrorism Committee on further approaches.
Within CTED’s Tech Against Terrorism initiative (http://www.techagainstterrorism.org/), CTED with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea in 2017 launched a series of international conferences with the aim to facilitate and promote best practices, knowledge-sharing, and public-private partnerships, with a particular focus on the Asian region, with its ethnic, linguistic, and cultural diversity.
Building on the two earlier workshops, participants in the third dialogue in Kuala Lumpur were encouraged to continue to share experiences and challenges encountered in countering incitement and violent extremism leading to terrorism, in developing counter-narratives, gathering digital evidence, enhancing the practices of private online communications service providers, and empowering online communities. Working groups focused on three overall themes: (1) incitement and online violent extremism; (2) public-private partnerships and industry self-regulation; and (3) cyber protection of critical infrastructure against terrorist attacks. The results of the working group discussions will be incorporated in an outcomes report of the Asia ICT and CT Dialogue, along with a summary of panel discussions in all three workshops conducted so far.