Tech Companies and Governments Meet at swissnex SF to Tackle Online Terrorism

On Tuesday, August 1, swissnex San Francisco acted as a neutral platform for the US launch of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), hosted by the Swiss foundation ICT4Peace and UN CTED through their joint project Tech Against Terrorism.

The meeting brought together representatives from the tech industry, governments, academia, and non-governmental organizations in an effort to share information on how to respond to the threat of extremism and terrorism online. High-level speakers included UK Home Secretary Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP, US Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke, as well as other officials from the US, UK, Canada, Australia, the European Union, and the United Nations.

The GIFCT, formed by tech giants Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube, formalizes and structures how companies can work together to counter the spread of extremist content online. Encouraging collaboration between governments, tech companies, tech startups, civil society groups and academics, the GIFCT’s mission is to counter terrorists’ ability to use the internet to further their causes, while respecting human rights. This includes addressing the promotion of terrorism, dissemination of propaganda, and the exploitation of real-world terrorist events through online platforms.

Over the coming months, the GIFCT will join forces with the Tech Against Terrorism project in partnership with ICT4Peace and UN CTED, pursuant to the UN Security Council resolution 2354 (2017) and the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Comprehensive International Framework to Counter Terrorist Narratives (S/2017/375), in a collaborative effort to tackle online terrorism. The Republic of Korea, Spain, and Switzerland, as well as Facebook, Google, Kaspersky Labs, Microsoft, and Telefónica, are sponsors of Tech Against Terrorism.

ICT4Peace is a policy and action-oriented foundation, whose purpose is to save lives and protect human dignity through information and communication technology. The fondation promote cybersecurity and a peaceful cyberspace through international negotiations with governments, companies and non-state actors. It also explores and champions the use of ICTs and media for crisis management, humanitarian aid, and peacebuilding.