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October 23, 2012

UN Emphasizes on the Need for a Centralized System to Match the Increasingly Technical Online-Based Terror Groups

The Internet has grown, with time, to become a mammoth toll for achieving different motives, both good and bad. After the findings of a UN report confirmed that, the Internet is a standard for terror groups, which they exploit to recruit members, raise funds and spread propaganda, the UN calls for improved and tighter Internet surveillance.

The report cited occasions in which terror groups initiated operations from scratch to execution or to a specific level over the Internet. Though there have been successful operations against such organizations, one thing holds true; the groups use sophisticated technology to cover their tracks making it quite tricky to catch a movement’s big fish.

A good example of this is in a specific instance where French police, while investigating physicist Adlene Hicheur, had to run encrypted e-mails through four different encryption systems to get the actual messages. In addition to this, they had to decrypt instant messages collected whilst eavesdropping and track payments made through web-based finance services.

The UN’s report points out that complete surveillance of the Internet will aid in such investigations. This comment holds water. There are millions of unmonitored networks over the world, which give terror groups the backdoors they need to transmit their critical communications with the least risk of interception. Completely taking control of the whole network from a virtually centralized base will give investigators an easier task in pinpointing terror groups and supporters who could be anywhere in the world.

Apart from the existence of a firm infrastructure aimed at monitoring the Internet, another factor that the report believes hampers the execution of justice is the fact that different nations have different laws stipulating what type of data Internet service providers can retain and how this information gets to different bodies that need it for investigation.

This is just a glimpse of the 148-page report produced with the aid of the UN’s Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force. The report aims at showing how member states can maximize on returns from the Internet when investigation and prosecuting terror groups.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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