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ECU researcher wins award for terrorism research

Tuesday, 08 September 2009

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Dr Anne Aly from ECU's Faculty of Business and Law has recently won the 2009 Australian Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers (AIPIO) Publications Award.

Each year, the AIPIO seeks to recognise excellence in the intelligence profession through the AIPIO Annual Awards Scheme. The Scheme offers awards for which an individual may apply for themselves, and those for which an individual or organisation must be nominated.

Dr Aly's paper explores the challenges of internet radicalisation to counter terrorism and security.

Looking at the issue from a user's perspective, Dr Aly examined why some people become attracted to the terrorist cause to the point that they are willing to use violent action, and what motivates them to seek out terrorist material on the internet in the first place.

According to Dr Aly, it's very easy for anyone with even the most basic computer literacy skills to locate, access and download terrorist material within a matter of minutes, and initiatives that attempt to censor such material are likely to have limited success, due to the multitude of ways such systems can be circumvented.

"Counter terrorism operations have to focus just as much on targeting individual and group intent as they do on monitoring and managing terrorists' capacity," Dr Aly said.

"Understanding what motivates people to turn to the internet for inspiration and guidance and in turn how extremist content on the internet might fulfil their needs can assist in the development of counter terrorism and security measures to tackle the growing challenge of internet radicalisation," she said.

The Institute will be publishing this paper in their next edition of the AIPIO Journal. The AIPIO Journal is peer reviewed and has a wide national and international readership.

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