The Halloween attack was yet another illustration of the “do-it-yourself” terrorism that’s been on the rise in the West, by which celebrities, frequently motivated by foreign groups can use minimal resources to cause greatest harm.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) clarified the timing of the attack was “ironic,” given the testimony provided by experts indicating that social media firms Weren’t doing all possible to efficiently fight online terrorist recruiting and radicalization
“I think it’s very ironic that as we were using a hearing regarding how revolutionary Islam is using the world wide web to recruit in our own backyard, within the timeframe of the hearing we had an attack by somebody who seems to match the profile,” Graham told reporters at a Tuesday press conference.
Experts cast doubt on whether they are doing sufficient while some success has been claimed by the networking giants in creating algorithms along with tools to block and quickly remove content out of their platforms. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, terrorism analyst Michael S. Smith II, advised lawmakers the Facebook, Twitter and Google “aren’t doing everything they possibly can to mitigate dangers” that emanate from their platforms.
“I believe we can do an exponential level” to fight online terrorist recruiting and radicalization attempts, Smith stated. “We’ve got the capacity. It’s not being employed.”
HOW GROUPS EXPLOIT SOCIAL MEDIA FOR ‘DO-IT-YOURSELF TERRORISM’
According to authorities, the suspect in the New York City truck attack, Sayfullo Saipov, has been born in Uzbekistan and arrived into the United States in 2010 under the so-called Diversity Lottery Visa. It was only when he came in the U.S. that he became “domestically radicalized,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stated.
“The evidence demonstrates,” Cuomo told CNN, “that once he arrived to the usa is if he started to become educated about ISIS and revolutionary Muslim strategies.”
The current evidence doesn’t suggest the suspect was a part of a larger terrorist organization or cell, but has been motivated by the Islamic State’s ideology and strategies.
According to reports, Saipov was using networking to connect to people who were or are the subjects of terror investigations. Himself was the subject of an FBI investigation in 2015, however, officials were not able to locate enough evidence to convict him.
Researchers are piecing together Saipov’s internet history as the suspect recovers from his injuries. What they’ve found to date is a fairly profile in those terror strikes, a lone-wolf influenced to behave on ISIS extremist and sympathetic into propaganda.
Since the incident was first being reported, ” Smith took notice of “a explosion of chatter” on Muslim State-linked social networking stations where users were encouraging the attacker.
“If they promote information about these kinds of incidents,” he explained, “exactly what it serves to achieve is to remind so-called fence sitters [in the West] … of how easy it is to go out and do the things that the team’s direction has prescribed, especially executing very simple attacks.”
ISIS has called to execute strikes where they’re using . So far in 2017, there were four truck strikes motivated by the State, two in London, one in Barcelona and also the Tuesday attack in New York.
As incidents in Europe and the United States have shown, the messaging boosting those types of strikes has proven hard to counter, contain or use to predict who might actually conduct a future attack.
According to Chris Meserole, a Brookings Institution expert on radicalization and new technologies, lone actors who engage in “do-it-yourself terrorism” pose a exceptional challenge for law enforcement and intelligence officers.
“The challenge for do-it-yourself terrorism is pretty important,” he said, noting terrorist recruiting can occur with only a few taps on a smartphone. “They even download the app, they may click on a hashtag and they’re one or two more taps off from connecting to a person who might point them at a violent direction.”
Despite Twitter nixing almost one million accounts the stage is being used by extremists to make contact recruits. They have a suite of apps with all end-to-end encryption, for example Telegram or even WhatsApp, where they’re able to directly communicate without detection.
In the case of the nyc attack, there’s presently no proof that the suspect was directly communicating using an ISIS operative.
Among lawmakers, there’s an increasing concern that networking websites who have so far been permitted to self-regulate, have not been prepared or able to take the platforms’ misuse or the steps necessary to battle radicalization from other nefarious celebrities.
Since lawmakers research the misuse of networking platforms and advertisements by operatives, lawmakers over the left and right have demonstrated a new willingness to put laws.
“Today the world wide web and societal networking outlets are ungoverned space,” Sen. Graham said. “There is no law in this region.”
He continued that terrorists are using “cyber ungoverned spaces to create strikes against us” and also to amuse and radicalize individuals within the nation. “There is going to be much more of this.”
President Donald Trump has issued a call to action following the Tuesday assault, and which includes making modifications to the U.S. immigration program and potentially altering the punishment for terrorist crimes.
“We must get much tougher,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday. “We want quick justice and we want strong justice. Much faster and much more powerful than what we have right now, as what we have right now is a joke and a laughing stock.”
It was unclear what measures that the president has in mind for creating the prosecution of terrorism cases “more powerful,” however, Sen. Graham told reporters that he spoke with President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions about attempting terrorism suspects as unlawful enemy combatants, instead of criminals.
Graham said he considers Trump is “apt to be more competitive” and overturn President Barack Obama’s practice of proscuting terrorism in criminal courts. Rather, terrorists suspects may be detained under the U.S. law of armed forces and interrogated with the goal of gathering intelligence.
International nation-state abuse of internet platforms and the growth of terrorist has led several lawmakers to reconsider regulating the technology giants.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who has historically been opposed to imposing new legislation the industry, was considering the choices. While he disagrees with every measure that would stifle free speech on the platforms, he noted, “On the other hand, we know radicalization will come through these platforms.”
Still, when it comes to the government’s function, Grassley said, “I do not think we have drawn any conclusion yet.”
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) Noted that his doctrine for a long time is to depart internet and societal networking companies. However, given the capability of actors to run on platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter regulation may be in the cards.
“I really don’t want to switch to social networking firms and state edit articles,” he noted, “but at precisely the exact same time I do not need to let people to [use the websites] to recruit terrorists.”
Even the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on crime and terrorism is planning follow-up hearings to look into measures .