Governments and tech converge to strengthen joint response to online terror events

Governments and tech companies are holding a two-day workshop, hosted by YouTube/Google in Wellington, to test the Christchurch Call Shared Crisis Response Protocol.

The workshop aims to refine and strengthen the response in the event of a terrorist attack with online implications.

Companies, governments, civil society experts and NGOs will work through a series of fictional scenarios designed to be both confronting and take into account evolving risks, to ensure the protocol and others like it are fit for purpose.

“The March 15 terror attack showed the lengths terrorists and those who support them will go to magnify their harm beyond the borders of any single country,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

“Social media was used in an unprecedented way as a tool to promote an act of terrorism and hate. We are working together to ensure that doesn’t happen again.

“Because of the Christchurch Call to Action, I’m confident companies and Governments are better prepared to respond quickly, and in a coordinated way, to prevent the mass dissemination of terrorist and violent extremist content online.

“This workshop is about ensuring the Crisis Response Protocol is an effective tool that will help prevent social media being used again in the way it was on March 15,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“We understand the importance of partnership and continued collaboration, and that shared initiatives are crucial to prevent and respond to abuse of digital platforms,” says Gautam Anand, Managing Director of YouTube Asia Pacific.

“We are fully committed to maintaining YouTube as a responsible platform, and to working collectively with other companies, NGOs, governments and civil society experts in combating the use of online platforms for harmful activity,” Mr Anand says.

“We are committed to playing our part in addressing this global challenge.

“As part of the Christchurch Call, in consultation with the government of New Zealand and our GIFCT partners, we have organized this international incident response workshop to enhance our collective ability to communicate effectively and respond efficiently in the event of a terrorist or violent extremist attack with an online component.”

Notes:

  • As part of the Christchurch Call to Action to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online, governments and online service providers made a commitment to “develop processes allowing governments and online service providers to respond rapidly, effectively and in a coordinated manner to the dissemination of terrorist or violent extremist content following a terrorist event.”
  • Pursuant to this commitment, a shared crisis response protocol was developed through discussions with Call-supporting countries and tech companies, plus relevant civil society and non-government representatives.
  • The protocol was announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and President Emmanuel Macron on 23 September, at a series of events during UNGA Leaders’ Week that took stock of progress made around the Call since May.
  • The Christchurch Call Shared Crisis Response Protocol is also designed to complement and interact with the EU Response Protocol and the Global Internet Forum for Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) Content Incident Protocol.
  • YouTube is a founding member of the GIFCT and (as part of Google) a founding supporter of the Christchurch Call to Action.
  • The workshop was funded and hosted by YouTube as part of its commitment to a collaborative multi-stakeholder approach to preventing terrorist and violent extremist content online, under the Christchurch Call.
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