The challenges of the DarkNet adresssed in the Philippines with the support of IFAP

01 March 2018

The Department of National Defense, in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs, conducted this week a workshop on "Dealing with the DarkNet: Measures to Prevent Violent Extremism" in Quezon City, Philippines.

The some 150 participants were mainly from the Philippines government agencies and non-governmental organizations. The presenters from international agencies included UNESCO's Information for All Programme (IFAP) and Interpol. The speakers provided information and insights on the DarkNet and its role in extremism and terrorism.

The Permanent Delegation of the Philippines to UNESCO was actively involved in the organization of this workshop.

Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, in his welcome remarks, said that, “because of the global nature of cybercrimes, no single nation can fight this alone. As cybercrimes increase, we must show our commitment to come up with more efficient and effective security measures to address this grave threat to our collective security.” Secretary Lorenzana expressed confidence that the overall quality of cybersecurity in the country can be raised and the Philippines can contribute to regional and international efforts to build a safer and more secure cyberspace “by investing in our people, capabilities and international networks and cooperation.”

For her part, Ms. Chafica Haddad, Chairperson of the UNESCO/IFAP Intergovernmental Council, presented the current efforts by the international community, particularly UNESCO/IFAP in establishing effective measures to prevent online radicalization, and stimulate the use of Internet for peace, understanding and inter-cultural dialogue.

Ms. Haddad underscored that “when we talk about DarkNet, Internet and the prevention of violent extremism, one of the fundamental issues is related to youth and appropriate policies. Young people are key to reducing and eliminating radicalization. We need to get them involved, seek out their opinions, listen to them, and, above all, give them the tools they need to become involved and vigilant users of the internet”.

The IFAP Chair also spoke about the ethical implications of DarkNet. The anonymity provided by the DarkNet gives cover for people in repressive regimes that need the protection of technology in order to surf the Web, access censored content and otherwise exercise their genuine right to free expression.

In the session on “Good Practices: Effective Government Strategies and Policies” the IFAP Chair referred to four columns for Governmental interventions to combat radicalization: supporting multidisciplinary research; empowering youth online communities; strengthening cooperation between media professionals; and supporting creative media campaigns.

In the working group on Education and Youth the IFAP Chair called for preventing violent extremism by education.

Reference was made to the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) in New Delhi, India, and to the concept of Global Citizenship Education (GCED). In addition, the role of Media and Information Literacy (MIL) was underlined to empower citizens by understanding the functions of media and other information providers, to critically evaluate their content, and to make informed decisions.

In her closing statement the IFAP Chair pointed out that disarming processes of radicalization leading to violence must begin with human rights, the rule of law, and with intercultural dialogue.

The Information for All Programme (IFAP) was established in 2001 to provide a platform for international cooperation in the area of access to information and knowledge for the participation of all in the knowledge societies. IFAP is a unique UNESCO intergovernmental programme that focuses on ensuring that all people have access to information they can use to improve their lives.