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Online forum on the internet used as tactical facilitator by terrorists

Countering the use of Internet for terrorist purposes


The online forum will focus on key issues related to how terrorists can potentially use the internet to plan and carry out attacks. Based on a discussion paper circulated to OSCE participating and Partner States, the goal of the forum discussions will be to identify pertinent trends and responses to this threat in line with OSCE commitments as well as to identify how the OSCE can further contribute to countering the Internet being used as tactical facilitator by terrorists.


Mobile devices, location based services, electronic financial transactions and social networking platforms can provide near universal situational awareness. The Mumbai terrorist attacks in 2008 have shown how terrorists can take advantage of the consumerization of Information Technology (IT) in the preparation phase and execution of attacks.

Tech-savvy terrorists now have access to vastly enhanced commercial technology that provide them with affordable versions of the command, control, communications, computing and intelligence systems previously only available to nation States. This forum will look at how terrorists can use the Internet in the planning and execution of attacks, outline pertinent challenges in responding to this threat and will address key questions raised in a discussion paper which was circulated as part of the invitation to this forum. The forum will focus on the following aspects and key questions:

  • Balancing law enforcement needs and fundamental freedoms: What are good practices that balance proactive security measures with fundamental freedoms? How could potential training in this area look like?
  • Uncluttering intelligence information: What good practices and tools on the technical and organizational level exist that provide actionable information for law enforcement before and during terrorist attacks? How can the value of such information be maximised through sharing it internationally while at the same time safeguarding privacy?
  • Clarifying the role of the Internet user: How can broad scale end user awareness raising be systematically achieved, and what are existing good practices to solicit assistance of users in efforts to tackle suspected terrorist online activities? And what is a potential OSCE role?
  • Identifying new/future developments on terrorism: How will new developments related to the Internet impact on terrorists’ abilities to plan and carry out attacks? Will we see a further diversification of terrorism enabled by the Internet?

The forum is part of a Series of four Online Expert Forums in 2012 on 1) the Internet used as tactical facilitator by terrorists, 2) terrorist use of social networking tools, 3) right wing extremism/terrorist use of the Internet, and 4) institutionalising Public Private Partnerships to combat terrorist use of the Internet. The conclusions and recommendations of all four forums will be compiled in a report showcasing good practices and responses to this specific threat - embedded within wider cyber security efforts, taking into account the specificities of terrorists as perpetrator group. One key component of this initiative will be to elaborate on options on how the OSCE could further complement international efforts in this field.

The forum will be opened on 21 May 2012 and closed on 25 May 2012 (Vienna time).


Added on
28 Mar 2017
OSCE Secretariat / Transnational Threats Department / Action against Terrorism Unit
Online event
OSCE Secretariat / Transnational Threats Department / Action against Terrorism Unit
Delegations, Experts, International organizations, Law enforcement officers, OSCE staff
intelligence, terrorism, criminal investigation, cybercrime