France, Britain to jointly combat online terror threat

The UK and France are moving ahead with a joint plan to fight terrorism, online hate speech, and to crack encrypted data.

Speaking together in Paris on Tuesday, President Macron and UK prime minister Theresa May said the two countries were renewing their counter-terrorism cooperation.

The plan includes possibly imposing fines on social media giants for not taking down flagged online hate speech quickly enough. They also spoke about prying apart encrypted messages, which posed broader questions on civil liberty and cyber security.

But Macron said they first wanted to make sure internet operators “delete any content promoting hatred and terrorism in any way.”

May echoed Macron’s views and said that while cooperation between their intelligence agencies was strong, more should be done to tackle the online threat.

“We are launching a joint UK-French campaign to ensure that the internet cannot be used as a safe space for terrorists and criminals,” she said.

May said the plan was to get companies to develop tools to identify and automatically remove the offending material. “Our campaign will also include exploring creating a legal liability for tech companies if they fail to take the necessary action to remove unacceptable content,” she said.

France currently has no laws for mandatory encryption backdoors, but instead allows for government hacking to access pre-encrypted data.

A 2015 Intelligence Act gives French intelligence officers blanket immunity to hack computers abroad and also enables them to break into systems at home. In 2016, the French version of a French-German joint statement on counter-terrorism also called for a ban on unbreakable encryption. The German version did not. The UK can already compel the removal of encryption via its 2016 investigatory powers act. The British government also has the power to hack anyone’s computer.

Pressure has been mounting for EU legislation on granting police forces access to encrypted data, with French and German ministers calling for an EU bill before the end of the year.


Idaho Prosecutor Denies Syrian Refugees Gang-Raped Girl

SALMON, Idaho — An Idaho prosecutor said on Wednesday that internet outlets devoted to carrying anti-Muslim sentiments were to blame for fomenting widely spread, false rumors that three Syrian refugee boys had gang-raped a young girl at knife-point.
“There was no gang rape, there were no Syrians involved and there was no knife. None of it is true,” Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs said of the reports, which originated on blogs and social media postings and have since gone viral.
He told Reuters those reports stemmed from an incident on June 2 in which three boys – aged 7, 10 and 14 – were accused of assaulting a 5-year-old girl in an apartment house laundry room in the southern Idaho city of Twin Falls.

‘You just hide the bag with money’

Recent research from Tilburg University stresses the importance of the common background between Moroccan jihadists in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. On Facebook they sympathize with each other, says researcher Claudia Lemos de Carvalho. She speaks of an “e-jihad ‘. There are bands of Moroccan networks with IS. “North Africa, especially Morocco networks have members with a high profile within the IS hierarchy,” said De Carvalho. “Dutch, French and Belgian jihadists have a common characteristic, their Maghreb background. Which gives them identity, strengthens mutual sympathy which binds them both online and offline.

‘Jihad Network extends into The Netherlands’

The events of the 13th Friday confirm once again the terrorist links between networks in France and Belgium, which in turn stand in connection with Dutch networks. These are links that take place via social media important radical ideological exchanges and where actually offline contacts, ‘on the ground’ occur because of the geographical proximity.

Woman planning to join Islamic State arrested at Madrid’s Barajas Airport

A 22-year-old woman was arrested at Madrid’s Adolfo Suárez-Barajas Airport on Monday night, on suspicion that she was planning to fly to Turkey to join the militant group Islamic State (ISIS), Interior Ministry sources have told EL PAÍS.

The woman is originally from a village in Huelva, in southern Spain, and had converted to Islam and become radicalized in a short period of time via internet messages.

The Civil Guard, which was in charge of the operation, became aware of the suspect thanks to its constant monitoring of jihadist forums on the internet, the sources added.

The Civil Guard became aware of the suspect thanks to its constant monitoring of jihadist forums on the internet

The young woman was arrested when she was about to take a flight to Turkey, which is a habitual entry point to Iraq and Syria for those wishing to join ISIS. Her residence will now be searched for evidence.

Spain breaks up online network recruiting young women for ISIS

Spain said Tuesday it had broken up an online network accused of recruiting young
women to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants fighting in Iraq and Syria and arrested four suspects.

The arrests came as European nations scramble to halt a surge in young people wanting to travel to Iraq and Syria to fight with the militants.

Two of the suspects were arrested in Melilla, the Spanish enclave neighboring Morocco, in the latest operation by Spain’s authorities targeting such recruiting networks. The others were detained in Girona and Barcelona in Spain’s northeast.

The two arrested in Melilla were said to be behind the creation and operation of several Internet platforms spreading propaganda, particularly for ISIS, the interior ministry said in a statement. “In line with the strategy of the Daesh [ISIS] terrorist group, they focused on the recruitment of women who, after a process of indoctrination, would end up joining the terrorist group in conflict zones,” it said, referring to the Arabic name for ISIS.

Private home visits were also organized for recruiting purposes and a number of young people had begun preparations to travel to war zones, the ministry said.

One of those arrested ran a “virtual community” with ISIS propaganda and more than 1,000 subscribers, it said.

New Muslim political party “Denk” lobbies for racism register in Netherlands

Dutch politicians of Turkish descent, Selcuk Ozturk and Tunahan Kuzu were expelled from the Netherlands' Labour Party last year. In response, they recently formed their own party, 'Denk.' (Photo: ANP/Martijn Beekman)
Dutch politicians of Turkish descent, Selcuk Ozturk and Tunahan Kuzu were expelled from the Netherlands’ Labour Party last year. In response, they recently formed their own party, ‘Denk.’ (Photo: ANP/Martijn Beekman)

The newly established political party with an Islam inspired agenda “Denk” established by former Dutch Labour Party members Tunahan Kuzu and Selçuk Öztürk have stated that a new index should be established to register racist statements on the internet. People who’s names would be present on the register should not be in the possibility to occupy a job at the government.

With the so called “R-register” Kuzu and Öztürk want to “clear the government of racists.” Öztürk stated that one could “develop a unit within the police that makes screenshots of racist remarks on social media in a similar manner as the police does when tracing child seducers on the internet. If someone then applies for a job at the government all could see what this person has said on Twitter and Facebook.” The parliamentary members have stressed that they are not aiming for the Netherlands to be a police state and that further thought is yet to be put into the idea.

For more information on “Denk.”

In the Netherlands, no use in stricter punishment of people going to Syria

Omar H. learned through internet how to make bombs, had put inciting writings and video’s online and prepared himself for going to Syria. He was sentenced to a year imprisonment, four years, four months probation. But he was not convicted of terrorism. This is why he wasn’t sentenced to three years imprisonment as public prosecution (OM) had demanded.

Terrorism expert Bibi van Ginkel doubts if stricter punishments will have the desired effects. Research made clear that people that want to leave for Syria are not held back easily. They are, as a matter of fact, willing to give their own life. It might be that potential jihadi’s will only get angry and thus more radicalized because of stricter punishments.

Online radicalization of minors in Spain

According with one of the girls arrested in August of this year, the indoctrination is centred on the value of Jihad and on the obligation of participating in the “holy war”. The indoctrination was performed via Whatsapp by one Imam who belongs to a very well organized ISIS support network.

The network acts quickly and effectively, in what concerns the planning, logistic and transport of these individuals to Syria.
The Spanish National Court is still questioning the individuals to learn more about their indoctrination process.

Jihadist children in Spain

More and more young individuals (under 14 years old0 are being intercepted by Spanish authorities for being involved in cyber Jihadism. Two of them (young girls from Ceuta) were arrested when they were getting ready to departure to Syria.
According to the local experts, the Internet works perfectly for the radicalization of youth and their preferred means are either Facebook or Whatsapp.