The internet smokescreen | open Democracy News Analysis

The internet smokescreen | open Democracy News Analysis

By Tim Stevens, 21 – 08 – 2008

Despite the convictions of three British Muslims for accumulating and transmiting terrorist material online, the internet should not become the focus of government regulation

The convictions this week of three men from the north of England on terrorism charges has once again highlighted the role of the internet in facilitating militancy and its ability to speed the radicalisation of young men like 18-year old Hammaad Munshi, the youngest ever Briton found guilty of terrorism crimes.

As the British government seeks to strengthen its stance on stamping out home-grown terrorism, it has zeroed in on the internet as a target for regulation and interdiction. Such an approach suggests both a misunderstanding of the internet itself and of the role that online behaviour plays in radicalisation and, ultimately, the creation of dangerously violent individuals. Wrong moves against wrong targets will eventually prove counter-productive.

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