Toward a Global Partnership to Counter Online Radicalization and Extremism

Mary McCord

The George Washington University's Program on Extremism and the George Washington University Law School hosted a two-day symposium on March 27 and 28, 2017 focusing on the role of the Internet in both facilitating and combating violent extremism.

The purpose of this symposium was to create a conducive environment for frank dialogue between high-level participants drawn from the U.S. government, foreign governments, law enforcement, and the technology industry. Speakers included: 

  • Mary B. McCord, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security, U.S. Department of Justice
  • James A. Baker, General Counsel, Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Baroness Joanna Shields, Minister for Internet Safety and Security, United Kingdom
  • Dr. Anwar Gargash, Minister of State, United Arab Emirates
  • Senior executives from Google, Apple, and Facebook
  • Senior officials from the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security
  • Senior members of the European Police Office (EUROPOL) 

The conference covered three main topics related to extremist use of the Internet:

1. Developing counter-narratives to combat the appeal of extremist messages online;
2. The increased terrorist use of sophisticated encryption technologies and the clash between security and privacy;
3. The ongoing debate surrounding censorship and if it is an effective tool for combating online radicalization.

Journalists from national media outlets, including The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, moderated the panel discussions, which were conducted to allow for candid, original contributions from all participants.

Day One:

Introductory Remarks and Keynote Address by Baroness Shields

The Challenge of Emerging Encryption Technologies

Breakout Session: Counter-Messaging from a Practitioner Perspective


Day Two

Introductory Remarks and Keynote Address by Dr. Anwar Gargash

Approaching Online Censorship

Closing Remarks and Keynote Address by Mary B. McCord