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SWC Capitol Hill Briefing Unveils New Internet Tool to Combat Online Hate

SENATOR BLUMENTHAL: [DIGITAL TERROR AND HATE APP] -
"Profoundly significant development in fight against terror and hatred around the world"

March 7, 2012

Washington, DC - Flanked by US Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), the Simon Wiesenthal Center has launched a special password-sensitive app designed to aid law enforcement, government agencies and policy makers with real-time access to the Simon Wiesenthal Center's trailblazing Digital Terrorism and Hate Project ( DTH). "There was only one hate site in 1995 when we launched this project," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, adding, "Our 2012 report is based on 15,000 problematic websites, forums, newsgroups, social network pages, YouTube videos, and games promoting hate against minorities, gays and religions. This new app will provide information on specific groups and online trends that will provide anyone involved in tracking and combating online hate with a powerful new tool.”

US Senator Blumenthal, the former Attorney General of Connecticut currently serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, including the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law. Upon receiving the first DTH app, Senator Blumenthal said in part, "This is a very, very important milestone in the fight against terror and hate, that the Simon Wiesenthal Center really has led so effectively, so relentlessly, so tirelessly, over so many years. This latest technological app is simply the adaptation of a very old fight in a new era, and it will be enormously effective in aiding law enforcement to track and stop terror and hate on the Internet. I know from my experience in law enforcement how important information is, how significant that kind of assistance is, and how important this app will be in enabling people to take action themselves in cooperation with law enforcement and how police and investigative bodies, federal, state and local can work together as result of this development."

The Press conference was followed by an in-depth presentation of the key findings of the 2012 DTH Report to 25 senior Senate and Committee staff.

Among the highlights:

• Online promotion of the "Lone Wolf" approach for terrorists and hate-mongers reflects the growing use by extremists who seek to evade detection before launching their violent and often deadly attacks.

• Terrorism tutorials on the Internet continue to proliferate. YouTube must be more vigilant in removing videos that teach bomb-making.

• Social Networking company's commitment to deter the use of their services by terrorists and bigots is uneven. Facebook has made the strongest effort, YouTube must do more and the use of Twitter by extremists, domestic and foreign proliferates.

• Beyond the Arab Spring, extremist forces in the Middle East have increasingly co-opted Internet technologies to hijack or redirect the direction and nature of change in those societies.

• Religious minorities are increasingly targeted online. The Iranian regime uses the Internet to promote Holocaust denial and pre-genocidal hatred against Israel.

• There is a resurgence of online activity by Militias, separatists and other anti-government groups online.

For more information on Digital Terrorism and Hate 2012 report and DTH app go to: iReport@wiesenthal.com, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400.000 members. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the OAS and the Latin American Parliament.