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Jared Cohen, director at Google Ideas and an advisor to the heads of parent company Alphabet Google, said ISIS should be kicked off the open Web.
He noted that the Islamist group is always going to be in a position to use some aspects of the Internet, such as anonymized browsing through Tor and the uncatalogued dark Web, but it should be chased away from the open Web.
Newsweek reports that ISIS’s savvy use of the Internet has made it possible for it to recruit followers, especially in the West, by disseminating information like videos and having chats on Twitter and other social networks. The reach and sophistication of the group’s social media campaign have allowed it to persuade vulnerable people to join its ranks and extend its reach beyond its base in Iraq and Syria.
“What is new is that they’re operating without being pushed back in the same internet we all enjoy,” said Cohen. “So success looks like ISIS being contained to the dark Web.”
Cohen added that the jihadist group has used the Internet to exaggerate its size since it runs more accounts than they have actual members. “But while the digital front is more complex, it could be where we can see greater short-term wins, so we should not neglect it.”
According to Homeland Security News Wire, experts say it would be impossible to remove ISIS from the dark Web, since much of it is built with and accessed by tools which are made to keep their users anonymous. But most of the Internet which most people typically see belongs to the open Web.
Cohen said that running ISIS off the Internet would include shutting down Twitter accounts associated with and supporting the group. It is not easy to implement this approach because accounts can be set up as quickly as they are taken down, but experts have said that it slows down the group — and it is the approach taken by citizen groups like Anonymous.
Cohen noted that if supporters of ISIS were afraid of being attacked for promoting it and its agenda, then they might be less happy to speak on public platforms.