Google Drive: ‘From Countering Radicalization to Disrupting Illicit Networks’
Search giant Google is supporting today’s launching of Against Violent Extremism (AVE), a new online network from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) of which members include a former violent jihadist from Indonesia, an ex-neo-Nazi from Sweden and a Canadian who was held hostage for 15 months in Somalia.
This is the first time that former extremists, survivors, nonprofits and private sector leaders from around the world joined forces using online tools to tackle the problem of violent extremism.
“The idea for this network first came about last summer when we hosted the Summit Against Violent Extremism in Dublin,” Google said.
Google said it wanted to initiate a global conversation on how best to prevent youth from becoming radicalized.
“In some ways, it was a bit of an experiment to see if we could get so-called “formers”—those who had renounced their previous lives of violent extremism—and survivors of such violence to come together in one place,” it said.
To reframe the issue of counter-radicalization, Google decided to spotlight formers as positive role models for youth. Google believed that there has traditionally been an over-reliance on governments to tackle these problems, “so we wanted to see what diverse groups outside the public sector could offer.”
“Finally, we needed to go beyond the in-person, physical conversations we had at the summit into the realm of the virtual, using the Internet to ensure sustained discussion and debate,” it said.
The AVE web platform contains tools for those wanting to act on this issue, forums for dialogue, and information about the projects that the network has spawned. The site, which is in beta, will be managed by ISD, a London-based think tank that has long worked on issues surrounding radicalization.
AVE’s seed members are a global network of formers, survivors of violent extremism, NGOs, academics, think tanks and private sector execs—all with a shared goal of preventing youth from becoming radicalized.