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Preventing Radicalisation Online through the Proliferation of Harmonised ToolkitS

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - PROPHETS (Preventing Radicalisation Online through the Proliferation of Harmonised ToolkitS)

Reporting period: 2019-11-01 to 2021-06-30

The core aim of the project is to examine the process of online behavioural radicalisation and how it leads to hate speech, terrorist financing, terrorist-generated content, terrorist recruitment and training. More specifically, PROPHETS maps out, cross-validates, and examines the processes, mechanisms, and the means by and through which online behavioural radicalisation occurs and leads to the four outcomes. The project also attempts to mitigate online behavioural radicalisation that incites terrorism by building resilience in people and wider society. The project will achieve its objectives through developing a number of tools to enhance LEAs’ proactive online preventive and investigatory skills, in line with the national legislations of the member states, concerning the area of behavioural radicalisation linked to terrorist activities online. PROPHETS will focus on understanding the process of behavioural radicalisation and will address the relational dynamics between radical behaviours and the above mentioned four key areas.

PROPHETS will realise its core vision through the following key objectives.
1) Online Awareness, Capacity and Resilience Building
2) Understanding Online Material
3) Identifying Underlying Psychological Traits
4) Recognising Ethical, Moral and Legal Concerns
5) Exploring Cybercrime as a Service
6) Policy Shaping, Training and Public Engagement
7) Tools to Enhance Capabilities and Counter Radical Behaviours
Online awareness, capacity, and resilience-building
- Literature reviews on (online) radicalisation and cyber-enabled terrorism with a focus on the micro level of individual or psychological indicators and on the current state-of-the-art counter-measures regarding radicalisation
- Identification and comparison of investigative software solutions.
- Online survey to investigate Internet user’s awareness, perceived risk and involvement regarding radicalisation-related online activities.
- One-to-one interviews with key informants on the privacy-security trade-off

Understanding online material
- Development of a Monitoring and Situational Awareness Tool to categorise the collected material.

Underlying psychological traits
- Mapping and comparison of national perspectives to explore how the 4 threat areas are influenced and shaped by global and national conditions.
- Literature review on how individual or psychological indicators impact the individual’s vulnerability towards behavioural radicalisation online.
- 4 Living Labs to examine the nexus between developments, proceedings and behavioural radicalisation online processes.

Ethical, legal and moral concerns
- Elaboration of legal and ethical considerations.
- Discussion of ethical and societal implications of PROPHETS and the legal dimension thereof.
- Handbook: overview of the meaning of ethics and data protection, how these relate to PROPHETS and what partners must do to comply with the requirements.
- Analysis of relevant legislative differences and policy variations at the EU as well as national and organisational levels.
- Evaluation of threat/risk assessment tools with a focus on structured professional judgement approach on radicalisation assessment.
- Interviews with experts to learn more about the challenges, issues, and needs faced by practitioners.
- Analysis of citizen perceptions around privacy-security trade off in the online environment.

Exploring Cybercrime as a Service
- Analysis of CaaS to gather insights into the world of cybercrime and how it might lead to the 4 radicalisation-related online activities.
- Examination of the behavioural phenomena that are interwoven with modern CaaS, focusing on the links between organised crime and terrorist networks.

Policy-shaping, training and public engagement
- Assessment and evaluation of national and organisational legislations and policies in relation to the 4 radicalisation-related online activities.
- Systematic and collective review of relevant behavioural programmes and tools that seek to detect and prevent actors and organisations that are undergoing changes towards terrorist-related online activities.
- Identification and comparison of investigative software solutions used in LEAs’ prevention and counter-terrorism actions.
- Compilation of implemented counter-radicalisation strategies to combat radicalisation processes within different implementation domains.
- Exploratory needs assessment based on 15 interviews.
- Collection of „Good practice” counter-measures regarding radicalisation through a web search.
- Conception of a Policy-making Roadmap.
- Validation of the MST, ENP and PMT
- Participation at external events and conferences, and development of several awareness raising campaigns.
- Conception and dissemination of a Training Package for LEAs.

Tools to enhance capabilities and counter radical behaviours
- Development and integration of the PMT and ENP.
- Development of 4 classification modules and unification in an all-in-one platform.
(1) Improvement and consolidation of knowledge about security problems and their remedies
The threat of online behavioral radicalisation was thoroughly investigated. Identification of important susceptibility indicators on an individual, group, and societal level laid the conceptual groundwork.The MST has been
designed to be able to detect vulnerability indicators, which (while not a remedy in itself) can thus enable platform users to take counter-measures.

(2) Policy-making toolkit leading to a future European Security Model applicable by EU LEAs
The PMT was finalized and validated in the second phase of the project. The toolkit enables policy makers to learn from one another and 'borrow' policy best practices. End-users have specifically
praised the user-friendly and clear layout of the PMT.

(3) Common approaches for assessing risks/threats and identifying relevant security measures
An evaluation of threat/risk assessment tools with a focus on the structured professional judgement (SPJ) approach on radicalisation assessment has been conducted. OSINT tools have been analysed as part of investigations
conducted through the Internet, which seek to identify the online and social footprint of suspect users.

(4) Understanding how citizens perceive security in connection with potential limitations to privacy
Quantitative (surveys) and qualitative (interviews) methods have been used to get insights into the opinions of societal groups and stakeholders about the privacy-security trade off.

(5) Toolkits for LEAs improving the citizens’ perception that Europe is free, just, and secure
The monitoring tools are capable of collecting and analysing material from the Surface Web and social media platforms. They also enable end-users to search/navigate/add new material, to highlight the differences in
legislation between countries.

(6) Considering the societal dimension in all activities
PROPHETS has ensured that its work is reconcilable with societal standards and expectations. The trade-off between enforcing security and maintaining privacy is analysed in great detail. The project's
platform does not engage in or contribute to any kind of stigmatisation.