Google chief: Block IS from open web

Google chief: Block IS from open web
2 min read
21 January, 2016
The internet giant's head of ideas has called for increased efforts to block IS from the open web to stop the group publicising its activities and recruiting new members.
IS has used social media to exaggerate its size and to recruit new members [Getty]

The Islamic State group should be blocked from the open web to stop it recruiting more members and exaggerating its size, said Google's head of ideas, Jared Cohen.

IS has been using the internet and social media networks such as Twitter to spread information and contact potential recruits. This has enabled it to extend its influence far beyond the Middle East.

"What is new is that they're operating without being pushed back in the same internet we all enjoy. So success looks like [IS] being contained to the dark web," said Cohen during a talk at the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House.

It would, however, not be possible to stop the group using Tor and the dark web, he explained, because they are mainly built and used by tools that protect users' anonymity.

The group has also used social media to exaggerate its size by running more accounts than it may have as actual members.

"But while the digital front is more complex, it could be where we can see greater short-term wins, so we should not neglect it," said Cohen, who has been given the job of "building tools to fight oppression!.

"What [IS] is doing is reflective of the times, as opposed to some sort of new sophistication that magically appeared," he added.

What Isis is doing is reflective of the times, as opposed to some sort of new sophistication that magically appeared


Blocking IS from the open web would include closing Twitter accounts connected to the group. Although new accounts are often opened quickly as soon as old ones are closed, this would help slow the group's activities.

IS members openly promoting their cause online should also fear retribution and being caught for their actions, Cohen added.

Similar techniques have been used by the online collective Anonymous, which declared war on IS after the attacks in Paris last November. It has been using a variety of tools to hack into the group's social media accounts and hinder its activity - both on the open and dark web.