Welcome to VOX-Pol’s online Library, a research and teaching resource, which collects in one place a large volume of publications related to various aspects of violent online political extremism.
Our searchable database contains material in a variety of different formats including downloadable PDFs, videos, and audio files comprising e-books, book chapters, journal articles, research reports, policy documents and reports, and theses.
All open access material collected in the Library is easy to download. Where the publications are only accessible through subscription, the Library will take you to the publisher’s page from where you can access the material.
We will continue to add more material as it becomes available with the aim of making it the most comprehensive online Library in this field.
If you have any material you think belongs in the Library—whether your own or another authors—please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will consider adding it to the Library. It is also our aim to make the Library a truly inclusive multilingual facility and we thus welcome contributions in all languages.
“On the Internet, Nobody Knows You're a Dog”: The Online Risk Assessment of Violent Extremists
This is Not Your Mother’s Terrorism: Social Media, Online Radicalization and the Practice of Political Jamming
Empowering ISIS Opponents on Twitter
Packaging Inspiration: Al Qaeda’s Digital Magazine in the Self-Radicalization Process
|Al Qaeda is today a fragmented organization, and its strategic communication efforts now focus largely on recruiting individuals in the West to carry out “individual jihad” in their home countries. One Al Qaeda–affiliated publication, Inspire, represents an unusual use of the digital magazine format and content for recruitment. This study examines the content and design of Inspire to determine how the magazine may advance the self-radicalization that it seeks to induce in its readers. This analysis finds that the magazine weaves together jihadist ideology, a narrow interpretation of Islam, and appropriations of Western popular culture to maximize the publication’s potential for motivating readers toward violence.|
The British Hacker Who Became the Islamic State's Chief Terror CyberCoach: A Profile of Junaid Hussain
|Until his death in a U.S. drone strike in August 2015, Junaid|
Hussain was the Islamic State’s most prolific Englishlanguage
social media propagandist, working to incite and
guide sympathizers in the United Kingdom, United States,
and beyond to launch terrorist attacks. Before joining the
jihad in Syria, Hussain was part of a hacking collective in
the United Kingdom, focusing much of his attention on
perceived injustices against Muslims. In many respects,
he was well integrated into British society with his family
home in a leafy suburb of Birmingham. A spell in prison
contributed to his radicalization and his decision to move
to Syria, where he married fellow extremist Sally Jones.
Ethical Dilemmas in Qualitative Research with Youth On/Offline
|2014||Livingstone, S and Locatelli, E.||Article|
|Research on the digital and online environment poses several ethical questions that are new or, at least, newly pressing, especially in relation to youth. Established ethical practices require that research have integrity, quality, transparency, and impartiality. They also stipulate that risks to the researcher, institution, data, and participants should be anticipated and addressed. But difficulties arise when applying these to an environment in which the online and offline intersect in shifting ways. This paper discusses some real-life “digital dilemmas” to identify the emerging consensus among researchers. We note the 2012 guidelines by the Association of Internet Researchers, which advocates for ethical pluralism, for minimizing harm, and for the responsibility of the researcher where codes are insufficient.|
As a point of contrast, we evaluate Markham’s (2012) radical argument for data fabrication as and ethical practice. In reflecting on how researchers of the digital media practices of youth resolve their dilemmas in practice, we take up Markham’s challenge of identifying evolving practice, including researchers’ workarounds, but we eschew her solution of fabrication. Instead, we support the emerging consensus that while rich data are increasingly available for collection, they should not always be fully used or even retained in order to protect human subjects in a digital world in which future possible uses of data exceed the control of the researcher who collected them.
Ethical Principles in Social-Behavioural Research on Terrorism
|2007||Bikson, T.K., Bluthenthal, R.N., Eden, R. and Gunn, P.P.||Article|
|This RAND working paper documents the proceedings of a daylong workshop, "Ethical Principles in Social-Behavioral Research on Terrorism: Probing the Parameters." The workshop was convened to initiate a public discussion of the parameters that should guide the ethical conduct of social and behavioral research on terrorism that is frequently carried out in countries or among groups hostile to the United States. The workshop was organised into three sessions on the topics of "Deception and Concealment vs. Autonomy," "Maximizing Beneficence and Maintaining Justice," and "Ensuring Confidentiality." Each session included a main speaker followed by short presentations from an expert panel, a plenary discussion, and a wrap-up by the session chair. All proceedings were taped and transcribed. The transcriptions of the presentations by the speakers and panelists have been lightly edited to improve readability, as have the introductory and wrap-up comments by the workshop organisers. The transcriptions of the plenary discussions have been summarized to highlight the main points.|
Al-Qaeda Central and the Internet
|Al-Qaeda’s media strategy in 2009 reflected the group’s attempts to meet the triple challenge of a shifting media landscape, its enmeshment in the Afghanistan-Pakistan nexus, and the global jihadist movement’s failures over the last several years. The results are ambiguous. Al-Qaeda appears to be holding the attention of the faithful, but it faces a rising din of competing voices, an Internet that is more and more of a mixed blessing, and less resonance in mainstream Arab media than in years past.|
GCHQ Cyber Speech For International Institute For Strategic Studies
|Speech by GCHQ Director Ian Lobban at International Institute for Strategic Studies, October 2010|
Al-Qaeda's Media Strategies
|The centrality of Arab mass media to Al-Qaeda's political strategy has long been evident. From spectacular terror attacks designed for maximal media exposure, to carefully timed videos from Osama bin Laden and his lieutenant, Ayman al- Zawahiri, to the burgeoning realm of jihadi Internet forums, Al-Qaeda the organisation has increasingly become indistinguishable from Al-Qaeda the media phenomenon. This article explores the nature of Al-Qaeda's relationship with the Arab media, which has been poorly understood leading to wrong policy conclusions.|
Manipulating And Hiding Terrorist Content On The Internet: Legal And Tradecraft Issues
|2008||Williams, J.F., Urgo, M. and Burns, T.||Article|
|The global war on terror (“GWOT”) is being fought on many levels. In addition to traditional terror and counterterror activity, both sides are engaged in a public relations and propaganda war, employing the media, willingly and unwillingly, to support their positions. Hovering over these war campaigns are information technologies, which include the Internet. This article provides an introduction to various online content concealing practices that have been employed by those seeking to conceal or limit access to information on the Internet, including terrorist organizations. Further, there is a discussion on tracking and monitoring of website visitors. After reviewing open source information and websites, this article examines techniques and technologies that are easily available to terrorist organizations -- foreign and domestic -- whose structure can be obtained through Internet websites. The article then turns to a discussion of the legal issues posed by active and passive website monitoring techniques.|
Role Of Intelligence In Countering Terrorism on the Internet: Revisiting 3/11
|2008||Díaz, G. and Merlos, A.||Article|
|In this paper we argue that understanding terrorism within the new cyber environment of the twenty-first century is paramount for the intelligence services in the dawn of the 21st century. We believe that the intelligence services will have to confront this new trend in terrorism tactics in years to come whether they are fully prepared or not. This new type of threat will be one of the principal questions for intelligence services in the 21st Century.|
Thornton Statement Nottingham University Terrorism Arrests
|Comments made by Dr Rod Thornton, Lecturer, School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham on the events surrounding, and the repercussions of , the terrorism arrests at Nottingham University in May 2008|
Mining Communities and Their Relationships in Blogs: A Study of Online Hate Groups
|2007||Chau, M. and Xu, J.||Article|
|Blogs, often treated as the equivalence of online personal diaries, have become one of the fastest growing types of Web-based media. Everyone is free to express their opinions and emotions very easily through blogs. In the blogosphere, many communities have emerged, which include hate groups and racists that are trying to share their ideology, express their views, or recruit new group members. It is important to analyse these virtual communities, defined based on membership and subscription linkages, in order to monitor for activities that are potentially harmful to society. While many Web mining and network analysis techniques have been used to analyze the content and structure of the Web sites of hate groups on the Internet, these techniques have not been applied to the study of hate groups in blogs. To address this issue, we have proposed a semi-automated approach in this research. The proposed approach consists of four modules, namely blog spider, information extraction, network analysis, and visualization. We applied this approach to identify and analyze a selected set of 28 anti-Blacks hate groups (820 bloggers) on Xanga, one of the most popular blog hosting sites. Our analysis results revealed some interesting demographical and topological characteristics in these groups, and identified at least two large communities on top of the smaller ones. The study also demonstrated the feasibility in applying the proposed approach in the study of hate groups and other related communities in blogs.|
Gen E (Generation Extremist): The Significance of Youth Culture and New Media in Youth Extremism
|There are many computer programs that model the consequences to built infrastructure when subject to explosive blast loads; however, the majority of these do not account for the uncertainties associated with system response or blast loading. This paper describes new software - called "Blast-RF" (Blast Risks for Facades) - that incorporates existing blast-response software within an environment that considers threat/vulnerability uncertainties and variability via probability and structural reliability theory. This allows the prediction of likelihood and extent of damage and/or casualties; information which will be useful for risk mitigation considerations, emergency service's contingency and response planning, collateral damage estimation and post-blast forensic analysis.|
Die Vermittlung arabischer Jihadisten- Ideologie: Zur Rolle deutscher Aktivisten
|Jihadistische Inhalte haben sich im Internet seit den Terroranschlägen vom 11. September 2001 massiv verbreitet. Trotz vielfacher Bemühungen, die jihadistische Webpräsenz zu bekämpfen, finden sich entsprechende Medien seit nunmehr knapp zwei Jahrzehnten in den virtuellen Welten. Ironischerweise nutzen die Jihadisten das modernste Mittel der Kommuni- kation, um im Namen einer primitiven Theologie gegen die Moderne zu kämpfen.1 Das jihadistische Online-Corpus besteht aus Schriften, Videos und Audiodateien, die von Unterstützern und Sympathisanten verbreitet werden. Dieses Material bietet der jihadistischen Szene weltweit ein kohä- rentes Wertesystem und ein Lebensmodell, dem es nachzueifern gilt. Seit 2005/2006 werden die jihadistischen Online-Inhalte auch ins Deutsche übersetzt, was das schnelle Anwachsen einer Szene in der Bundesrepublik begünstigt hat. Der Prozess wird von Predigern und Aktivisten voran- getrieben, die gezielt versuchen, jihadistische Konzepte auf die Lebens- wirklichkeit in Deutschland anzuwenden und damit junge Menschen zu rekrutieren.|
A Look At Jihadists Suicide Fatwas: The Case Of Algeria
|Responding to critical questions on the al-Hebah Forum in 2007, the leading chief ideologue of AQIM, Abu 'l-Hassan Rashid, provides a chilly look on the jihadists practical understanding and definition of deploying suicide-bombers and the potential of killing innocent Muslim bystanders during such operations. The 2007 document is based on comprising Arabic sources that have been over the years disseminated and amended by the means of the internet. The article intends to provide an assessment of alleged Islamic principles used for such attacks and draws on a comprising database of jihadist writings and videos. Rashid cites and builds his arguments on writings that can be in the meantime termed as common understanding and knowledge by most sympathizers on- and offline. By including AQIM videos the article intends to further analyze the practical incorporation of the language and notion of the jihadists as portrayed and disseminated by AQ’s video outlets.|
OSCE Background Note - Jihadist Use of the Internet: Lessons for the Far Right?
|This background note pertains to how far right extremist groups have coopted methods from the ‘cyber caliphate’ and jihadist Internet use to develop their own support networks. Specifically, the material deals with the varying levels of online presence, comparing jihadist and far right strategies to disseminate propaganda. By adhering to this layered network, the source reveals how extremist groups of all varieties are able to protect themselves while simultaneously projecting their message. The source also briefly touches on the few, but crucial divergences between the jihadist and far right methods.|
OSCE’s background note on jihadist internet usage provides valuable context and a succinct survey of how the extensive research already done on jihadist internet presence also applies to the far right. Researchers looking to study the correlations between the two should begin here.
Jihadismus und Internet: Eine deutsche Perspektive
|Deutsche Internetaktivisten sind seit 2005 ein integraler Teil der internationalen jihadistischen Szene geworden, die sich seitdem in einem Prozess stetigen Wandels befindet. Noch nie war es so einfach wie heute, über das Netz und netzbasierte neue soziale Medien auf alle Arten jihadistischer Propaganda zuzugreifen. Die Autoren dieser Sammelstudie befassen sich in erster Linie mit der Situation in der Diaspora – vor allem jener in Deutschland – und suchen das Verhältnis zwischen jihadistischer Aktivität in der virtuellen und in der physischen Realität zu beleuchten und zu klären. Ihre wichtigste Schlussfolgerung lautet: Virtuelle und physische Realität sind auch in der jihadistischen Bewegung eng miteinander verbunden. Internetpropaganda ist gerade dort außerordentlich wirksam, wo sie von aktiven jihadistischen Gruppierungen betrieben wird. Gelingt es, wichtige Aktivisten und Knotenpunkte ihrer Webtätigkeit auszuschalten, können ihre Gegner die Öffentlichkeitsarbeit der Terroristen stark beeinträchtigen. Darüber hinaus lebt das jihadistische Internet vom Vertrauen der Aktivisten untereinander. Gelingt es den Sicherheitsbehörden, durch Infiltration der Webpräsenzen Misstrauen zu säen, lässt die Attraktivität des jihadistischen Netzes schnell nach.|
|2012||El Difraoui, A.||Article|
|Spätestens seit der Kosovo-Albaner Arid Uka Anfang März 2011 am Frankfurter Flughafen zwei US-Soldaten tötete, hat das Bewusstsein für die Gefahren jihadistischer Internetpropaganda stark zugenommen. Der 21-Jährige erklärte, zu der Tat habe ihn ein Internetvideo bewogen. Wie soll man in Deutschland mit der Propaganda im Internet umgehen und ihrem radikalisierenden Einfluss entgegensteuern? Sie völlig aus dem Netz zu entfernen ist unmöglich. Ohnehin sollte eine gewisse Anzahl für durchschnittliche Internetnutzerinnen und -nutzer schwer zugänglicher Webseiten toleriert werden, um hier relevante Informationen zu gewinnen.|
Bei dem in dieser Studie vorgeschlagenen Konzept sollte die Bundesregierung federführend in Kooperation mit den Landesregierungen vielversprechende Initiativen identifizieren oder anregen, sie finanziell und logistisch fördern und lose, aber effizient koordinieren. Um diesen schwierigen Balanceakt zu bewältigen, sollte eine unabhängige Struktur geschaffen werden, etwa in Form einer Stiftung oder eines Instituts.
Uncovering the Wider Structure of Extreme Right Communities Spanning Popular Online Networks
|2013||O’Callaghan, D., Greene, D., Conway, M., Carthy, J. and Cunningham, P.||Article|
|Recent years have seen increased interest in the online presence of extreme right groups. Although originally composed of dedicated websites, the online extreme right milieu now spans multiple networks, including popular social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Ideally therefore, any contemporary analysis of online extreme right activity requires the consideration of multiple data sources, rather than being restricted to a single platform. We investigate the potential for Twitter to act as one possible gateway to communities within the wider online network of the extreme right, given its facility for the dissemination of content. A strategy for representing heterogeneous network data with a single homogeneous network for the purpose of community detection is presented, where these inherently dynamic communities are tracked over time. We use this strategy to discover and analyse persistent English and German language extreme right communities.|
De leefwereld en denkbeelden van Nederlandse en Belgische Syriëgangers: een analyse van elf Facebook-accounts
|2014||Grol, P., Weggemans, D. and Bakker, E.||Article|
|Content analysis of the posts from eleven Facebook accounts of known Dutch and Belgian foreign fighters (in Dutch). English summary is available here: http://leidensafetyandsecurityblog.nl/articles/foreign-fighters-on-social-media-an-analysis-of-11-facebook-accounts|
Identity in Transition: Connecting Online and Offline Internet Practices of Moroccan-Dutch Muslim Youth
|2008||de Koning, M.||Article|
|The Internet has become the principal platform for the dissemination and mediation of the ideology of Islamic movements, ranging from purist (non-violent) to politically engaged movements to Jihadi networks. Certainly in intelligence and security circles the Internet is considered the single most important venue for the radicalization of Muslim youth. On the other hand the Internet is seen as a means for people to transcend ethnic and religious divisions that are pervasive in other spheres of life. In this paper the author argues that both premises seem to result from a lack of understanding of the relationship between online and offline realities and still more from the difficulty of ascertaining the extent to which websites influence wider audiences and users. In order to understand the reception of Internet messages the local context and the way global narratives are appropriated in the local context, should be taken into account. My argument will be based on my empirical study of the practices of Muslim youth with regard to the Internet; I will explore how they act simultaneously as performers and observers in these virtual spaces.|