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Terrorist Use of the Internet by the Numbers: Quantifying Behaviors, Patterns and Processes

Gill, P; Corner, E; Conway, M; Thornton, A; Bloom, M; Horgan, J; (2017) Terrorist Use of the Internet by the Numbers: Quantifying Behaviors, Patterns and Processes. Criminology & Public Policy , 16 (1) pp. 99-117. 10.1111/1745-9133.12249. Green open access

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Abstract

Public interest and policy debates surrounding the role of the Internet in terrorist activities is increasing. Criminology has said very little on the matter. By using a unique data set of 223 convicted United Kingdom–based terrorists, this article focuses on how they used the Internet in the commission of their crimes. As most samples of terrorist offenders vary in terms of capabilities (lone-actor vs. group offenders) and criminal sophistication (improvised explosive devices vs. stabbings), we tested whether the affordances they sought from the Internet significantly differed. The results suggest that extreme-right-wing individuals, those who planned an attack (as opposed to merely providing material support), conducted a lethal attack, committed an improvised explosive device (IED) attack, committed an armed assault, acted within a cell, attempted to recruit others, and engaged in nonvirtual network activities and nonvirtual place interactions were significantly more likely to learn online compared with those who did not engage in these behaviors. Those undertaking unarmed assaults were significantly less likely to display online learning. The results also suggested that extreme-right-wing individuals who perpetrated an IED attack, associated with a wider network, attempted to recruit others, and engaged in nonvirtual network activities and nonvirtual place interactions were significantly more likely to communicate online with co-ideologues.

Type: Article
Title: Terrorist Use of the Internet by the Numbers: Quantifying Behaviors, Patterns and Processes
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/1745-9133.12249
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/1745-9133.12249
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Criminology & Public Policypublished by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf ofAmerican Society of Criminology. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CCBY 4.0), which permitsuse, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The copyright line for this article was changed on 29 June 2017 after original online publication.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1502328
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