Workshop on the Ethics and Politics of Online Monitoring of Violent Extremism

Workshop Agenda


Andrea Cerase et al, Monitoring Racist and Xenophobic Extremism to Counter Hate Speech Online: Ethical Dilemmas & Methods of a Preventive Approach

Benjamin Ducol, French Anti-Terrorism Law and the Securitisation of the Internet: Mapping a Security Controversy in the Age of Global Terrorism

Ian Brown, Towards Multilateral Standards for Surveillance Reform

Istvan Janto Petnehazi, User Generated Hate Speech: The Case of Romania

Robindra Prabhu, Could Anders Behring Breivik Have Been Stopped with Social Media Monitoring?

Valentin Stoian, A Comparative Analysis of the Jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice & the Romanian Constitutional Court on Metadata Retention

The VOX-Pol network is organising a workshop in Brussels on the ethics and politics of the day-to-day monitoring of the Net for material promoting violent extremism — by police, intelligence agencies, the Internet industry, and private groups and individuals. It will be a fully participative event, with short keynotes from leading experts followed by intensive debate and discussion, and including stakeholders from civil society, technology companies, and law enforcement agencies.

We already have 15 confirmed participants from law enforcement, civil society and industry. Academic researchers that wish to participate should submit by e-mail an extended abstract of 1-2 pages on their proposed short contributions, which will be reviewed by members of the VOX-Pol network. Travel grants are available for successful applicants, who will be asked to make a short presentation on their work during the workshop.

The workshop is open to perspectives from any academic discipline, including communications, computer science, cultural studies, information science, international relations, internet studies, law, media studies, philosophy, political science, psychology, and sociology.


VOX-Pol welcomes submissions in the following areas:

• Impact, legitimacy and effectiveness of monitoring “extremist” material and communications
• Methods and mechanisms, guidelines and best practice for monitoring programmes
• The role of trust, insights and confidence on the use of Open Source/Social Media Intelligence, including in relation to the identification of violent extremism
• Oversight mechanisms for private Internet monitoring, such as public law and transparency reporting
• Definitions of violent extremism and radicalisation, and the implications for Internet monitoring. If/when/how do societies draw the line between (legitimate/lawful) free
speech/expression and (unacceptable) extremist content?
• The relationship between monitoring and blocking/take down – who decides, is there recourse etc.
• Discrimination and differential impacts on “suspect” communities
• Ethics and efficacy of counter-extremist analytical tools
• Protecting the rule of law and individual liberty
• The impacts of national/EU/international strategies and policies, and international cooperation

Extended abstracts up to two A4 pages should be submitted to by 30 November 2014. Successful submitters will be notified by 5 December 2014. A report will be published following the event by the Oxford Internet Institute, and will include updated extended abstracts.


Funding is available to reimburse the costs of a number of participants, to include one night’s hotel accommodation up to €90 (special rate available to participants) and transportation (incl. economy class flight, second class train, public transportation to/from airports). Meals will be provided throughout the event.

For workshop-related queries, please e-mail

While in Brussels for the workshop, VOX-Pol’s Dr Maura Conway (DCU) and Professor Ian Brown (OII) spoke to Belgian public service broadcaster VRT News on the subject of media strategies used by radical groups online. Watch the news segment here:

VOX-Pol followed up the workshop with a Panel on Monitoring the Net for Violent Extremist Material at CPDP2015. Watch the full panel discussion below:

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