In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in London, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has been at the forefront of international calls for technology companies to do more to combat online extremism. The British government announced its intent to stamp out extremism “in all its forms, both across society and on the internet.”
In the United States, the Department of Homeland Security just announced a $10 million two-year grant to organizations that work to improve cybersecurity and thwart terrorism. Countering violent extremism, specifically online, requires taking proactive steps to halt extremist groups from being able to recruit and radicalize followers worldwide. This effort, now more than ever, requires increasing cooperation between the private, public and academic sectors, among others. For their part, tech companies have been experimenting with new techniques and guidelines.
These are complex issues at the intersection of freedom of expression and national security. How will all of the proposed changes and solutions express themselves online, domestically and abroad? How do these efforts to identify and prevent early online radicalization square with the First Amendment and notions of freedom of expression?
Arthur Rizer, R Street’s director of national security and justice policy, took part in a July 21, 2017 panel discussion on these and related issues hosted by the Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus. Other panelists included Kevin Adams of the British Embassy, Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens of George Washington University’s Project on Extremism, Mark MacCarthy of the Software & Information Industry Association and Clara Tsao of DHS’ Countering Violent Extremism Task Force.
Video of the discussion is embedded below: