India’s concern against cyber terrorism and use of technology for terrorism was again voiced by the External Affairs Minister of India, Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar at Paris on 12 November 2019 while Speaking at the Paris Peace Forum on issues pertaining to the governance of cyberspace, he was quoted as “With reference to specific security threats, including cyberattacks on critical infrastructures, countries should consider entering into arrangements for speedy action and mitigation of such treats”. He said India’s support to the Christchurch call to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online manifests the country’s commitment to work with “like-minded countries to ensure that the entire digital space serves to advance our societies and economies, without endangering our safety and security”.
If we all recall, On 15 March 2019, the whole world was surprised the at the exploitation of Internet and Technology in a dreaded act of terrorism. In this act, a terrorist attack was executed against two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, this was extensively pre-advertised on the web and the act was live streamed on different platforms. 51 people were killed and 50 injured and the live stream was viewed some 4,000 times before being removed. The recordings were widely shared in the Cyberspace, which made the removal of digital data form servers difficult.
This terrorist attack made clear once again the harms that can be caused by terrorist and violent extremist content online, a threat that continues to evolve. The attack was livestreamed, went viral and remains available on the web despite the measures taken to remove it.
It was post this event on 15 May 2019, that the then French President Emmanuel Macron and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had mobilised a group of heads of state and government, international organisations and leaders of businesses and digital organisations to take action against terrorist and extremist content online and end the exploitation of the Internet by terrorist actors. This then has become a one of a kind “corpora-political” organization leading an initiative called — ‘Christchurch call to action‘.
The consortium arrived at a common pledge “eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online”; Seventeen countries had originally signed the non-binding agreement, with another 31 countries following suit on 24 September 2019. The pledge consists of three sections or commitments: one for governments, one for online service providers, and one for the ways in which the two can work together. Many initiatives were taken and by the Corporate houses which include: Amazon, Dailymotion, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Qwant, Twitter and YouTube. Many more are to join the forum. Apart from the corporate houses, the signatories include European Commission, Council of Europe, UNESCO, and the governments of: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia (country), Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, India, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Senegal, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.
The Christchurch Call is an action plan that commits governments, international organisations and Internet players to take a series of measures, in particular: developing tools to prevent the downloading of terrorist and violent extremist content; combating the causes of violent extremism; improving transparency in the detection and removal of content; and ensuring that the algorithms designed and used by businesses do not direct users towards violent extremist content, so as to reduce their viral nature.
India looks forward for a global participation for the safety of its citizens, especially when our IT and Cyber proliferation has touched new heights. India has its entire population mapped on the Aadhaar Initiative; and with the words largest 1.2 billion mobile phone connections; 1 billion bank accounts; and over 500 million internet connections.
The World hopes that this one of a kind partnership and initiative will ensure peaceful coexistence and a safe Cyber Space for all of us.
(More details are available at “https://www.christchurchcall.com/” The official website of the forum)