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Law Enforcement capabilities 2: Detection and analysis of terrorist-related content on the Internet


Specific challenge:

Due to the ease of publishing information on the Internet (Web site, blogs, social networks, newsgroups, forums, etc.), terrorists increasingly exploit the Internet as a communication, intelligence, training, recruitment and propaganda tool where they can safely communicate with their affiliates, coordinate action plans, raise funds, and introduce new supporters or recruits into their networks. In order to cope with the dangers involved in the use of Internet by global terrorist organizations and grassroots terrorist cells, more efficient and effective automated techniques are required. Despite the often explicit (or at least not disguised) content of these web-sites, especially when used for propaganda, the huge amount of somehow related, yet not illegal, sites, represents a major obstacle to the reliable and fast analysis of their contents. Research should therefore develop and apply new and/or improved data and text and multimedia mining methods to detect, categorize, analyse, reason over, and summarize terrorist-generated content group information from several sources that supports same history, and isolate potential sources describing different ideas, that could be intended to generate “disinformation” or fake evidences to distract LEA from real scenarios. Aside this, modes of finding sources of data, capturing and preserving data for forensic analysis, authenticating images and linking videos and conversely proving multimedia data falsification, should be investigated.


Proposals should focus on the accurate identification of terrorist online communities (even hiding their real identity), accurate and fast categorization of malicious content published by terrorists and their supporters in multiple languages, large-scale temporal analysis of terrorism trends, and real-time summarization of multilingual and multimedial information published by terrorists, including content filtering for mis- and disinformation and framing. In addition, linking pseudonyms and finding the original author should be part of the research. The developed methodologies should be able to handle massive amounts of multilingual and multimedial web content in minimal time. The scope of the proposed tool should involve law enforcement bodies from the design phase to the prototyping and test phase.

The proposals should address the management of personal data, and related ethical and legal issues. Therefore considerable attention will have to be given to privacy and data protection, and to the adherence to European regulations. For each proposed solution, potential issues vis-à-vis these rights and regulations will have to be analysed, and recommendations on the best solutions to these issues must be proposed.

The development of a base line system for current and future end users should also be envisaged and the solution should follow Open Source concepts.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between €3m and €5m would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact:

Projects under this topic should lead to:

  • More effective prevention of terrorist activities planned and organized via the Internet through automated analysis of terrorist-generated content.
  • Faster detection of grassroots terrorist cells from their online activitieş. Faster and more accurate detection and analysis of malicious content published by terrorists.
  • Faster detection and analysis of terrorism trends. Reduction of the ""information overload"" on web intelligence experts due to automated summarization of the relevant content.
  • Increased privacy and data protection.
  • Contribution to a considerable improvement in the field of public security.
  • For industry better understanding of modern operational Law Enforcement Agency requirements, thus increasing their competitiveness.

The outcome of the proposal is expected to lead to development from Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) 6 or above; please see part G of the General Annexes.

Type of action: Innovation Actions