In the battle against jihadist terrorism, the digital world is the new ungoverned territory. New technologies have dramatically expanded terrorist groups’ global reach. Social media allows terrorist groups to distribute propaganda and recruit potential followers instantly, at low cost, anywhere in the world. Encrypted messaging applications provide low-cost global communications secured by virtually unbreakable cryptography—a level of secure communications previously available only to the most advanced states. To prevail, governments will have to deny jihadists the ability to operate securely in these digital realms. However, any efforts to address these challenges will resonate far beyond the narrow realm of counterterrorism, affecting the freedom of expression, individual privacy, constitutional law, international human rights, technological innovation, and the future prosperity of the United States.
On March 9 BPC held an event on confronting terrorists’ use of these technologies. The event featured keynote remarks by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Cyber and International Communications and Information Policy Robert Strayer, a panel discussion on policy approaches to terrorists’ use of social media and encrypted communications, and the release of a Bipartisan Policy Center staff paper on Digital Counterterrorism: Fighting Jihadists Online.
Keynote address by:
Robert L. Strayer
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Cyber and International Communications and Information Policy, U.S. Department of State
Panel discussion with:
Executive Director, Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, Georgetown University Law Center
Former Senior Director for Counterterrorism at the National Security Council
Deputy Director of the Program on Extremism, George Washington University
Director of the National Security Program, BPC
Reporter, CQ Roll Call