• ISIS28 May Russian airstrike may have killed ISIS leader

    Russia’s Defense Ministry is investigating whether a 28 May airstrike in Syria killed ISIS head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The strike targeted a high-level meeting of ISIS leaders, who were discussing ISIS’s withdrawal from Raqqa. Thirty mid-level militant leaders and around 300 other fighters were killed in the heavy strike.

  • Urban securityLondon mayor seeks Israeli security expertise after wave of terrorist attacks

    London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan sought Israel’s advice to “find new ways to protect ourselves” after a series of terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom. Khan said that both his office and Met Police assistant commissioner Mark Rowley, the head of the counter-terrorism police, have been in touch with Israeli officials to discuss how to better combat urban terrorism.

  • Law enforcementCost savings of LA county crime reform initiative uncertain

    While a California ballot initiative reducing penalties for some criminal offenses promised to save local governments money, quantifying such savings will require significant changes in the way local agencies track workloads, according to a new report. The researchers concluded there was too little information available to create credible estimates of cost savings, despite there being evidence that many of the departments saw a drop in workloads.

  • Water infrastructureHelping repair California's water infrastructure

    Recent extreme weather has put increased stress on California’s aging water infrastructure and highlighted the fact that the state must invest billions to improve and repair its civil infrastructure. The California Policy Center reports the infrastructure is currently designed to serve 20 million people in a state with a population of 40 million. The state relies on CSU water management, engineering, agriculture, and construction management experts to renovate aging dams, canals and aqueducts.

  • RadicalizationGermany considering spying on children suspected of radicalization

    Germany is debating the question of whether the country’s intelligence and law-enforcement agencies should out under surveillance minors radicalized by extremist Muslim clerics. The law currently bars the country’s intelligence agencies to save any data on anyone under the age of 18 when the data was collected. Bavaria’s interior minister Joachim Herrmann said it is “divorced from reality” to argue that investigators should look the other way when they learn about a radicalized minor.

  • RadicalizationFour things schools can do to help tackle extremism and radicalization

    By Sue Roffey

    The terrorist attacks in Manchester and London renewed discussions about how to stop young Muslims being radicalized. A lot of the ideas focus on closing down social media sites, reporting “at-risk” individuals or organizations, and educating pupils on the evils of extremism. But while it’s important to be having these types of conversations, most of these suggestions are reactive. If there is any chance of stopping it, there has to be understanding of its roots, along with long-term strategies to undermine the causes. And as most terrorists are “home-grown” – in that they are often born and raised in the country they then go on to attack – what happens in schools may well be critical.

  • SurveillanceBringing transparency to cell phone surveillance

    Modern cell phones are vulnerable to attacks from rogue cellular transmitters called IMSI-catchers — surveillance devices that can precisely locate mobile phones, eavesdrop on conversations or send spam. Security researchers have developed a new system called SeaGlass to detect anomalies in the cellular landscape that can indicate where and when these surveillance devices are being used.

  • ExtremismGauging extremist crime: Crunching the numbers

    The U.S. Extremist Crime Database tracks violent attacks carried out by extremists. The database shows that since 1990, supporters of jihadist movement have committed 45 fatal events, while far-right extremists committed 195 fatal events during the same time frame. Initially, the data lead one to believe that far-right extremists are in fact more dangerous than jihadists because they are responsible for nearly four times as many events. But the data also show that attacks by jihadists have resulted in more overall deaths than those by right wing extremists.

  • ExtremismWhite supremacists in U.S. inspired by ancient Nordic religion

    Inspired by an ancient heathen religion, known most commonly as Odinism, White supremacists carry out terrorist attacks on American soil. In at least six cases since 2001, professed Odinists have been declared guilty of plotting – or pulling off – domestic terrorism attacks. Today’s Odinists claim it is the only pure religion for white people, one not “mongrelized” by the Jewish prophet Jesus – thus making Odinism a perfect fit for a strain of white supremacists and neo-Nazis in America. “Now is a great time for Odinism because it fits into this historical narrative about European cultural greatness and a connection between whiteness and nationality,” says one expert.

  • ExtremismWhy criminalizing non-violent extremism won’t prevent terrorism

    By Daniel Kirkpatrick

    In the wake of the terrorist attack on London Bridge, there is a push for new legislation to target not the criminal behavior of violence, but the ideology behind it. This is based on the problematic assumption that criminalizing the motivations behind an action can prevent it from happening: but my research suggests that the opposite may well be the case. Providing legitimate and credible non-violent alternatives to terrorism may seem fanciful, but the motivations for some of these individuals often begins in their social exclusion and alienation. Addressing and engaging with these issues much earlier could help prevent violent motivations ever taking root. This means re-orientating criminal justice so that the focus is on the illegitimacy of political violence, not the identities and individuals themselves, could help prevent these attacks, particularly as they become more difficult to detect. Dialogue, not criminalizing non-violent forms of expression, will help prevent political violence.

  • Terror tunnelsTerror tunnel discovered under UNRWA schools as Hamas continues military buildup

    A terror tunnel was discovered under two United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) schools, prompting Israel to file a letter of protest with the United Nations on Friday. A former UNRWA official acknowledged in 2014 that it takes “no steps at all to prevent members of terrorist organizations, such as Hamas, from joining its staff.”

  • Facial recognitionGermany testing face-recognition software to help police spot terrorists

    Germany will be testing facial recognition software at a Berlin train station this summer to see whether it can assist police identify terror suspects more quickly. Volunteers will help police test the software at Berlin’s Suedkreuz station. If the test is successful, the use of the biometric software would be expanded to other locations, and also used to help police identify criminals, not only people suspected of terrorist activities.

  • Terrorists & social mediaCan the world ever really keep terrorists off the internet?

    By Shontavia Johnson

    After London’s most recent terror attacks, British Prime Minister Theresa May called on countries to collaborate on internet regulation to prevent terrorism planning online. May criticized online spaces that allow such ideas to breed, and the companies that host them. Internet companies and other commentators, however, have pushed back against the suggestion that more government regulation is needed, saying weakening everyone’s encryption poses different public dangers. Many have also questioned whether some regulation, like banning encryption, is possible at all. As a law professor who studies the impact of the internet on society, I believe the goal of international collaboration is incredibly complicated, given global history.

  • African securityNew U.S. approach to fighting terrorism in Africa

    The Trump administration is in the process of revising U.S. strategy in Africa, and one of the first indications of this new approach is the greater freedom given to military commanders on the ground to conduct operations against Islamist groups. The most visible demonstration of this approach so far has been in Somalia, where the United States has intensified its involvement with the campaign against al Shabaab. Critics of the administration argue that in many ways the policy still relies on relying too heavily on corrupt and incompetent partners, and that it suffers from not paying sufficient attention to the non-military aspects of the fight against extremist terrorism.

  • Online privacyProtecting against online privacy attacks

    When Congress voted in March to reverse rules intended to protect internet users’ privacy, many people began looking for ways to keep their online activity private. One of the most popular and effective is Tor, a software system millions of people use to protect their anonymity online. But even Tor has weaknesses, and in a new paper, researchers recommend steps to combat certain types of Tor’s vulnerabilities.