Case Studies

Internet referral

by Mark Rowe

International action coordinated by the European Union’s policing agency Europol involved Internet Referral Units (IRUs) from France, Germany, Slovenia and the United Kingdom.

For the first time since its launch, Europol’s Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) organised and joined forces with the IRUs on a 48-hour joint action to secure the removal of material from social media and online generally. The teams jointly targeted accounts used by terrorist groups to radicalise, recruit, direct terrorist activity and glorify their atrocities.

The Europol team, which was composed of specialists, analysts, translators and counter-terrorism experts, was supported by British, French, German and Slovenian colleagues in the operation from the agency’s headquarters in the Dutch capital The Hague.

The decision and removal of the referred terrorist and extremist online content was a voluntary activity by the service providers, taken in reference to their own terms and conditions, Europol reports.

The EU IRU was launched in July 2015 to combat terrorist propaganda and related violent extremist activities on the internet: terrorist propaganda videos, pictures of beheadings, bomb-making instructions and speeches calling for racial or religious violence.

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