For information only - not an official document

22 October 2012

UNODC launches report to assist Member States to counter the use of the internet for terrorist purposes

VIENNA, 22 October (UN Information Service) - The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) today launched a publication to provide practical guidance to Member States for more effective investigation and prosecution of terrorist cases involving the use of the Internet. The publication, entitled "The use of the Internet for terrorist purposes", is the first of its kind and was produced in collaboration with the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force.

Terrorist groups and their supporters use the internet to recruit, finance, spread propaganda, train and incite followers to commit acts of terrorism; as well as to gather and disseminate information for terrorist purposes. The use of the Internet for terrorist purposes disregards national borders, amplifying the potential impact on victims.

Speaking at the launch, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov said: "Potential terrorists use advanced communications technology often involving the Internet to reach a worldwide audience with relative anonymity and at a low cost. Just as Internet use among regular, lawful citizens has increased in the past few years, terrorist organizations also make extensive use of this indispensable global network for many different purposes." Mr. Fedotov said that with the new tool, UNODC aimed to provide practical guidance for the investigation and prosecution of cases where the Internet is used for terrorism.

Through real examples of legal cases, the publication explores Member States' legislation dealing with the terrorist use of the Internet and demonstrates the difficulties faced by Member States in criminalizing and prosecuting such acts. It further provides guidance on current legal frameworks and practice at the national and international levels relating to the criminalization, investigation and prosecution of terrorist cases involving the Internet.

The publication emphasizes the need for enhancement of cooperation between criminal justice systems and the private sector; as well as international cooperation particularly where the preservation and retention of Internet-related data takes place in several jurisdictions

Produced with financial support from Government of the United Kingdom, the publication is intended for use both as a stand-alone resource for criminal justice practitioners, and in support of the capacity-building initiatives of UNODC.

As a key United Nations entity for delivering counter-terrorism legal and related technical assistance, UNODC works to strengthen the capacity of national criminal justice systems to implement the provisions of the international legal instruments against terrorism. UNODC actively participates in the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, ensuring that the UNODC counter-terrorism work is carried out in the broader context of, and coordinated with, United Nations system-wide efforts through the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

The use of the Internet for terrorist purposes was launched at a conference held at the Austrian Ministry of Interior in Vienna. The conference was attended by amongst others Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner; UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov; Hungarian Interior Minister Sandor Pinter; Security Minister, British Home Office James Brokenshire and President of the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution Georg Maassen.

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For further information contact:

Rebecca Wabwoba
Associate Public Information Officer, UNODC
Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-5348
Email: rebecca.wabwoba[at]