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DHS Secretary Nielsen Discusses Online Counterterrorism Efforts at the 2018 Digital Forum on Terrorism Prevention

Last month, Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen joined United Kingdom Home Secretary Amber Rudd and top experts at the 2018 Digital Forum on Terrorism Prevention in Silicon Valley to discuss efforts to fight back against terrorist radicalization and recruitment online.

At the Forum, Secretary Nielsen and Home Secretary Rudd pressed for decisive action against digital terrorist propaganda, as nearly all recent terror plots uncovered in the United States and the United Kingdom had an online component. They also emphasized the importance of continued collaboration between governments, the private sector, and community partners to counter this threat.

Secretary Nielsen and Secretary Rudd participating in the 2018 Digital Forum on Terrorism Prevention

At the Digital Forum, the U.S. Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Task Force and the U.K. Home Office announced the launch of a new, “social media awareness briefing” that will be used to make tech companies more aware of online terrorist trends. The briefing will help startups and content moderators increase their understanding of the danger and develop more effective mitigation strategies.

Secretary Nielsen gives a speech at the 2018 Digital Forum on Terrorism Prevention

Secretary Nielsen speaks at the 2018 Digital Forum on Terrorism Prevention

The all-day event was attended by a mix of federal, state, and local government officials; representatives from startup content service platforms; researchers; investors; community organizations; and civil society groups. Representatives from members of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) also attended the event.

Participants also discussed the balance between developing terms of service that are sufficient to counter terrorist content, while respecting users’ civil rights and civil liberties. Additionally, they discussed approaches to transitioning online counter-messaging to offline interventions dealing with vulnerable individuals, as well as the latest trends from data science and research in the terrorism-prevention space.

This was the second Digital Forum on Terrorism Prevention, with the first taking place in September 2017. Both of these events were led by the US CVE Task Force and co-presented by the DHS Office of Terrorism Prevention Partnerships and Tech against Terrorism.

Watch the discussion here, and learn more about DHS efforts to prevent terrorism here.

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