Top officials of the Obama administration have met leading Internet companies in Silicon Valley in an effort to build cooperation with them in combating online radicalisation and recruitment by terror groups.
“This meeting is the latest in the administration’s continuing dialogue with technology providers and others to ensure we are bringing our best private and public sector thinking to combating terrorism,” a senior administration official said after the meeting was over in San Jose yesterday.
The meeting was attended by the White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Assistant to the President for Counter Terrorism and Homeland Security Lisa Monaco, US Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith, among other senior administration officials.
Representatives of a number of leading Silicon Valley companies including Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Microsoft attended the meeting.
The meeting comes after Obama’s call in his address on December 6 for government and technology community to work together to combat terrorism and counter violent extremism online.
“This engagement is a result of that call. The administration is committed to taking every action possible to confront and interdict terrorist activities wherever they may occur, including in cyberspace,” the official said.
Earlier in the day, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, said the goal of the engagement was to find additional ways to work together to make it even harder for terrorists or criminals to find refuge in cyberspace.
Earnest said this was an opportunity to be a robust discussion about ways they can make it harder for terrorists to leverage internet to recruit, radicalise, and mobilise supporters to carry out acts of violence.
Earnest said there was precedent for this kind of cooperation with tech companies, when they had worked together to combat child pornography and hoped to find common ground with them “Many of these technology companies that are participating in the meeting today are run by patriotic Americans who don’t have any desire in seeing their technology being used to aid terrorists, or make it easier for terror organisations to recruit followers and incite them to carry out acts of violence,” he said.