Terrorist Advocacy on the Internet: Free Speech Issues and Material Support Statutes


Brenda Anderson (Editor)

Series: Terrorism, Hot Spots and Conflict-Related Issues
BISAC: LAW104000

The development of the Internet has revolutionized communications. It has never been easier to speak to wide audiences or to communicate with people that may be located more than half a world away from the speaker. However, like any neutral platform, the Internet can be used to many different ends, including illegal, offensive, or dangerous purposes. Terrorist groups, such as the Islamic State (IS, also referred to as ISIS or ISIL), Al Qaeda, Hamas, and Al Shabaab, use the Internet to disseminate their ideology, to recruit new members, and to take credit for attacks around the world. Several U.S. policymakers, including some Members of Congress, have expressed concern about the influence that terrorist advocacy may have upon those who view or read it. The ease with which such speech may be disseminated over the Internet, using popular social media services, has been highlighted by some observers as potentially increasing the ease by which persons who might otherwise have not been exposed to the ideology or recruitment efforts of terrorist entities may become radicalized. These concerns raise the question of whether it would be permissible for the federal government to restrict or prohibit the publication and distribution of speech that advocates the commission of terrorist acts when that speech appears on the Internet. This book discusses relevant precedent concerning the extent to which advocacy of terrorism may be restricted in a manner consistent with the First Amendment’s Freedom of Speech Clause. The book also discusses the potential application of the federal ban on the provision of material support to foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) to the advocacy of terrorism, including as it relates to the dissemination of such advocacy via online services like Twitter or Facebook. (Imprint: Novinka)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. The Advocacy of Terrorism on the Internet: Freedom of Speech Issues and the Material Support Statutes
Kathleen Ann Ruane

Chapter 2. Terrorist Material Support: An Overview of 18 U.S.C. 2339A and 2339B
Charles Doyle

Chapter 3. Testimony of Rebecca MacKinnon, Co-Founder, Global Voices Online. Hearing on ”The Evolution of Terrorist Propaganda: The Paris Attack and Social Media”

Chapter 4. Testimony of Evan Kohlmann, Chief Information Officer Flashpoint Partners. Hearing on ”The Evolution of Terrorist Propaganda: The Paris Attack and Social Media”


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