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SXSW Interactive 2016

How to Fight ISIS without Breaking the Internet

The Islamic State has mastered social media. Democracies are struggling to fight ISIS without violating core civil liberties. Politicians from Washington to Paris have proposed laws requiring tech companies to monitor users, report on apparent terrorist activity, and censor terrorism-related content. How should the tech community respond? How do Internet companies keep themselves from being a tool for terrorist recruitment and planning without censoring and surveilling users in ways that will also stifle journalism, activism, and heated policy debate? Our panelists debunk myths and offer alternative approaches and core principles on which to build solutions.

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  1. Is social media really the hotbed for terrorist activity that some news reports have depicted? How do terrorist groups use online communication tools?
  2. What are the best strategies for countering violent radicalization? Can the approach of “fighting bad speech with good speech” really work?
  3. How can a tech company stand up for users’ freedom of expression and privacy in the face of so much pressure?



Emma Llanso, Dir, Free Expression Project, Center for Democracy and Technology

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