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Framework and Guidelines for Reducing Availability of Unlawfully Terrorism-Related Material on the Internet

Framework and Guidelines for Reducing Availability of Unlawfully Terrorism-Related Material on the Internet

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Published by TJ McIntyre
This is an internal Home Office document setting out details of an internet blocking system run by them from 2008 to 2011 aimed at "terrorist related" material.
This is an internal Home Office document setting out details of an internet blocking system run by them from 2008 to 2011 aimed at "terrorist related" material.

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Published by: TJ McIntyre on May 04, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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1. Terrorists and violent extremists use the internet both as an operationalplatform and as a tool for radicalisation and recruitment. In response thecross-Government strategy for countering terrorist use of the internet aims tomake the internet a more hostile environment for terrorists and violentextremists.2. The strategy encompasses four work streams:Increase understanding of how terrorists and violent extremists usethe internet;Increase disruption of those using the internet for terrorist andviolent extremist ends and of terrorist material available on theinternet;Use the internet to counter the terrorist and violent extremistmessage;Raise visibility of what Government s doing to tackle terrorist andviolent extremist use of the internet.3. As one package of work under the second work stream, Government isseeking to reduce the availability of terrorist and violent extremist material onthe internet for UK audiences. The impact and effectiveness of this work willbe reviewed in the wider context of the strategy for countering terrorist use of the internet inthe summer of 2009.4. Some of the terrorist and violent extremist material available on theinternet encourages people to adopt more radical beliefs and to move towardspassively or actively supporting violent extremism. Government is concernedin particular with the subset of this material that is
unlawfully terrorism-related
as defined in section 3 of the Terrorism Act 2006 (which will bereferred to in this document as 'unlawful material' and means terrorist andviolent extremist related material only). Such material either encouragesterrorism or would be useful to someone inthe commission of an act of terrorism.5. Government wants to reduce the availability of unlawful material on theinternet because:a) The material is unlawful under the Terrorism Act 2006;b) Material encouraging terrorism or violent extremism may have aradicalising effect on some people in some circumstances;c) Itcould be useful to someone in the commission of an act of terrorism.
Not all unlawful material has a negative
on all individuals who see orhear it. However, by reducing the amount of this material available to UK internet users we hope to reduce the risk that people will be exposed tomaterial that-encourages them to adopt violent extremist ideas and committerrorist acts.6. This paper has been written by the Office of Security and Counter- Terrorism and sets out how Government intends to reduce the availability of unlawful material on the internet for UK users.7.
Part 1
of this document sets out:An overview of options that exist for reducing availability of unlawfulmaterial on the internet;An overview of 
as a method for reducing the availability of unlawful material on the internet;The process that will be used by Government to identify unlawful materialon the internet and create a list of URLs for inclusion in filtering andparental control software.8.
Part 2
of this document contains:SpecifiC'guidelines to be used by Government analysts carrying out thiswork.9. Government analysts charged with carrying out this work should readboth parts of this document infull. They should then sign a copy of thedocument to say they have read and understood it.
Part 2
should then beused on a routine basis to inform decision making.I have read and understood this document.Name:Date:Signature:
Part 1Options for reducing availability of unlawful materialon the internet
10. There are three main methods for reducing the availability of unlawfulmaterial on the internet.The material can be removed at source;The material can be blocked atthe network level bythe ISP;The material can be filtered atthe desktop byfiltering or parental controlsoftware.
Removal at source
11. The most logical way to reduce the availability of material on theinternet is to remove itat source. ISPs anywhere in the world can be asked toremove material from their servers, and those in.the UK usually do so whenthe material is clearly illegal and/or itcontravenes their Acceptable UsePolicies.12. In addition to this informal path, section 3 of the Terrorism Act 2006created a notice and take down regime for
unlawfully terrorism-relatedmaterial.
Section 3 allows a constable to serve a notice on the person(s)responsible for unlawfully terrorism-related material on the internet. Thenotice requires that the terrorism-related material be removed or modifiedwithin two working days. Failure to comply with a section 3 notice is not anoffence but the person on whom the notice is served will not be capable of using the statutory defence of non-endorsement contained in sections 1and 2of the Terrorism Act 2006 were a prosecution to ensue under those sections.Section 3 notices can be issued on person(s) inthe UK or overseas.13. For material hosted in the UK the above mechanisms work well.However, asking for material hosted outside the UK to be modified orremoved either through informal contaCt or through a section 3 notice isimpractical and difficult to achieve. There is no mechanism for enforcing asection 3 notice (either in the UK or overseas) other than to prosecute and itwould be extremely difficult and time consuming to bring a prosecutionagainst an individual located outside the UK for offences under sections 1or 2of the Terrorism Act 2006.14. Although removal at source is appropriate in some circumstances ithas a limited effect given that itis obvious to the owner of the material that ithas been removed and the material can then easily be moved elsewhere. Itcan also be difficult to achieve ifthe material is hosted overseas as outlinedabove.
Network level blocking
15. Blocking occurs at the
network level
so users have
no choice
aboutthe controls that are applied to the material they wish to view. The onlymaterial currently blocked at the network level for UK based users is

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