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UNDOC Paper – The use of internet for terrorist purposes

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United Nations, September, 2012

“The use of the Internet for terrorist purposes is a rapidly  growing phenomenon, requiring a proactive and coordinated response from Member States.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) plays a key role in providing assistance to Member States, in furtherance of its mandate to strengthen the capacity of national criminal justice systems to implement the provisions of the international legal instruments against terrorism, and does so in compliance with the principles of rule of law and international human rights standards. In particular, in 2011, the General Assembly, in its resolution 66/178, reaffirmed the mandate of UNODC to continue to develop specialized legal knowledge in the area of counter-terrorism and pertinent thematic areas, including the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes. Despite increasing international recognition of the threat posed by terrorists’ use of the Internet in recent years, there is currently no universal instrument specifically addressing this pervasive facet of terrorist activity. Moreover, there is limited specialized training available on the legal and practical aspects of the investigation and prosecution of terrorism cases involving the use of the Internet.

The present publication complements the existing resources developed by UNODC in the areas of counter-terrorism, cybercrime and rule of law. It also addresses the importance of developing integrated, specialized knowledge to respond to the technical assistance needs of Member States in combating this continually evolving threat. UNODC is deeply grateful for the generous support of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which made the publication of that work possible. The publication, which is intended for use both as a stand-alone resource and in support of the capacity-building initiatives of UNODC, is aimed at providing guidance regarding current legal frameworks and practice at the national and international levels relating to the criminalization, investigation and prosecution of terrorist cases involving the Internet.

Terrorism, in all its manifestations, affects us all. The use of the Internet to further terrorist purposes disregards national borders, amplifying the potential impact on victims. By highlighting cases and best practices that respond to this unique challenge, the present publication has two aims: first, to promote a better understanding of the ways in which communications technologies may be misused in furtherance of acts of terrorism and, second, to increase collaboration among Member States, so that effective criminal justice responses to this transnational challenge can be developed.”


About Muhammad Haniff Hassan

Muhammad Haniff Bin Hassan is a Fellow. He holds a PhD and M.Sc. in Strategic Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (previously known as the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies), Nanyang Technological University. He received his early education in Aljunied Islamic School. He then continued his tertiary education at the Faculty of Islamic Studies, National University of Malaysia, with honours in Syar`iah and Civil law. Mr. Haniff is also active in social activities as a member of the Islamic Religious Council Appeal Board, HSBC Insurance Islamic Advisory Board from 2000 to 2014, Association of Islamic Religious Teachers and Scholars of Singapore (PERGAS) and Management Committee of Al-Irsyad Islamic School. He writes extensively in Berita Harian (a local Malay newspaper) and has also published articles in The Straits Times. He has published six books in his name, co-authored a monograph and helped publish two books for PERGAS and the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore. His personal website in Malay is at


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