Responses to terrorism must be similar across geographies and cultures and differential standards must not be accepted, India has said, seeking global action to tackle the evolving threat of Internet being used by terrorists for radicalisation and terror financing.
Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar made the remarks during a high-level meeting at the U.N. on ‘Preventing Terrorist Use of Internet’ hosted by the U.K. and Italy on Wednesday.
“Internet backbone, critical Internet resources and data centres should be dispersed and redundant to mitigate impact of major terror attacks,” Mr. Jaishankar said, according to a transcripts released by the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations on Friday.
“Responses to terrorism must be similar across geographies and cultures. This is an issue where differential standards must not be accepted,” he said.
“Where the Internet is concerned, we all recognise how effective a tool it is for terrorism. Its utility for radicalisation, indoctrination, recruitment and financing is by now well-proven. In such a situation, we cannot be passive. This forum is an effort to more actively attack this problem and we applaud that,” he said.
The top Indian diplomat said that India is cognizant of the threat posed by terrorists using Internet.
“Our pluralism and democratic values make us particularly sensitive to its dangers. We may have held out better than many others, yet the rapid growth of internet users — now close to 500 million and growing — underlines the scale of the challenge,” he said.
In his remarks, Mr. Jaishankar said the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) is an encouraging development because combating terrorist usage of Internet has stakeholders beyond the government.
“It calls for new policies but more important, new mindsets. And what we see is a positive change,” he said.
The meeting agreed that terrorists using Internet is a global issue that needs innovative, international solutions.
In the presence of U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italy’s Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, leaders from industry and several countries met on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly to re-affirm their collective determination to prevent the Internet from being misused by terrorist groups and individuals.
Participants of the meeting in a statement said that they believe that the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism provides the best over-arching mechanism to tackle the evolving threat posed by Internet being used by terrorists.
“We have recognised the international nature of the online terrorist threat and the need to build global momentum to tackle it in a comprehensive way. We agreed to support the Forum, as well as existing regional initiatives in the sector of countering terrorism online, as they take vital steps towards this through their work to undertake research, share knowledge and develop technical solutions that will help their industry as a whole to protect their global user base,” it said.
As leaders of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube emphasised their shared ambition to prevent terrorists from exploiting the Internet to radicalise, recruit and spread propaganda, and to protect their users from terrorists and violent extremists online.
“They have committed to a range of platform-specific and Forum-wide efforts to better tackle terrorist abuse of open platforms, including exploring artificial intelligence and machine learning to accelerate the identification of terrorist content; building on their hash sharing database of known terrorist content to help more companies to detect and prevent re-upload of that content; and other initiatives to support smaller companies build capabilities for tackling terrorist abuse of their platforms,” the statement said.