Project Description

The cyberspace is increasingly used as a medium to illegally fund, recruit, train, and incite individuals against European social and democratic ideals. Online behavioural radicalisation, desensitisation and demoralisation are to be considered as the driving force in the genesis of online criminal attitudes, belief systems, and psychological attributes that move towards accepting, supporting and instigating terrorism.

 

In line with the EC Migration and Home Affairs approach to countering terrorism, PROPHETS seeks to detect radicalisation indicators that may lead people to be drawn into terrorism in line with the Prevent and Protect objectives of the EU Counter Terrorism Strategy.

 

In particular, the project focuses on radical actors who (through engaging in unlawful online actions) may commit crime or cause direct or indirect harm to others or are deliberately engaged in undermining EU fundamental values (when this represents an offence in the national legislation concerned).

Definitions

 

Direct harm

 

Indirect harm

  • inciting violence

  • inciting hate speech

  • encouraging terrorist group training

  • participating in terrorist group training

  • encouraging issuing terrorist materials

  • participating in issuing terrorist materials

  • sharing harmful terrorist generated content

  • sharing harmful terrorist generated content

  • helping fund terrorist organisations

  • helping to recruit actors into terrorist campaigns


The fundamental challenge

PROPHETS will focus on understanding the process of behavioural radicalisation. Therefore, PROPHETS will address various forms of serious crime connected to terrorist activities online, like:

  1. Hate Speech

  2. Terrorist Generated Content

  3. Recruitment and Training

  4. Financing

These four key areas of Hate Speech, Terrorist Generated Content,Recruitment  and Training, and Financing are all built to align with the "Prevention of Radicalisation" approach taken by the European Commission. Whilst there are broader areas of terrorist internet use, such as direct communications and reconnaissance, these areas cannot be researched, detected and analysed within the scope of "open source" research being undertaken in this project. 

PROPHETS will focus on these four key areas because whilst they are not the only necessary conditions for online radicalisation, they often form strong indicators of potential online radicalisation linked to terrorist organisations, especially when taken together with expert stakeholder knowledge of contemporary online terrorist groups, actors, modus operandi, platforms, and technologies.