High Level Meeting on Preventing Terrorist Use of the Internet

  • Speech, check against delivery

Excellencies, distinguished participants

I commend the Governments of the United Kingdom, France and Italy for hosting this forum during UNGA Leaders' Week.

Terrorists are exploiting the internet in a variety of ways, including by:

  • disseminating propaganda;
  • radicalising and recruiting;
  • inciting, planning, and directing attacks;
  • promoting the aftermath of attacks; and
  • raising finance.

We must do more in countering terrorists' exploitation of the internet.

Australia supports an open, free and secure Internet, however it cannot be an ungoverned space in which terrorists operate beyond the reach of the law.

I congratulate Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, Google and YouTube for responding positively to the commitment given by G20 leaders last July to cooperate with internet service providers to fight exploitation by terrorists of the internet including social media.

The Internet operates across borders and it is therefore vital that tech companies around the world join us in this challenge.

The work of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism sends a strong signal to terrorist groups that their conduct in cyberspace will be scrutinised.

Australia has adopted a comprehensive approach.

We are collaborating with the digital industry, traditional media, educational institutions and influential community groups to challenge the hate-driven and divisive narrative that is being spread online by ISIS and others.

We must remain vigilant because the threat is continually evolving. For example, extremist groups are using encrypted messaging apps to conceal their communications.

Australia is very keen to work constructively with communication services providers to prevent terrorists from using encryption to hide online.

This is a significant challenge, as encryption is vital for the protection of many legitimate activities including national security, e-commerce and personal privacy.

However, governments and the private sector have shared interests and a collective responsibility to combat the scourge of terrorism.

Those seeking to inflict harm on our societies are resourceful and determined, and we must be more committed in our response and our resolve to overcome this threat.

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