The International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT)

The International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) is one of the leading academic institutes for counter-terrorism in the world. Founded in 1996, ICT has rapidly evolved into a highly esteemed global hub for counter-terrorism research, policy recommendations and education.

The goal of the ICT is to advise decision makers, to initiate applied research and to provide high-level consultation, education and training in order to address terrorism and its effects. Within the constellation of topical research institutions worldwide, ICT stands out as a benchmark institute through its:

  • Dedicated focus on counter-terrorism policy
  • Acclaimed faculty and management team
  • Worldwide team of affiliates and strategic academic partners
  • Largest public-domain research database on the internet for counter-terrorism
  • Interdisciplinary research
  • Innovative policy solutions
  • Original, “out-of-the-box” approach to policymaking through education and training of key leaders
  • “Real world,” pragmatic policy proposals and solutions
  • Proactive advocacy of these ideas to international decision-makers and leaders

ICT is a non-profit and independent organization located at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, Israel. The Institute relies exclusively on private donations and revenue from events, projects and programs.

The current ICTRP Project is being carried out with generous funding from the Global Internet Forum to Counter-Terrorism (GIFCT) through a global research network led by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), based in London.


The International Cyber Terrorism Regulation Project (ICTRP)

Terrorists are increasingly leveraging their use of the internet across ten major categories of  hostile activity: propaganda, psychological operations, incitement, recruitment, radicalization, financing, information sharing (including training), intelligence, communications, and cyberterrorism. At the same time, governments, international organizations, and private companies that provide social media platforms (SMPs) have been developing measures to fight such hostile uses of cyberspace in general, and the internet in particular, through the use of an increasingly diverse regulatory toolbox.

Such regulatory measures encompass the traditional modes of national laws, strategies, and policies. They also include international treaties and protocols; the resolutions, decisions and public declarations made by the part of international organizations; and capacity-building initiatives for bolstering the enforcement of counter-terrorism at the national and global levels. Although there are currently no overarching international treaties governing counter-terrorism efforts regarding terrorist use of the internet, several multilateral agreements and arrangements currently provide a normative basis for addressing some aspects thereof.  

Finally, the regulatory toolbox for addressing terrorists’ use of the internet increasingly leverages the policies initiated by social media platforms and applied by them to monitor and remove terrorist content. This latter category constitutes a type of self-regulation that raises interesting and important issues of corporate autonomy and oversight, especially in democratic, rule of law countries.

One of the core issues for providing an effective response to terrorists’ use of the internet in democratic, rule of law countries is to find a balance between national security needs and democratic rights. It is critical to address this and other key dilemmas and problems associated with the implementation of evolving counter-terrorism policies and strategies. The ICTRP aims to identify and present a comparative analysis of these regulatory models and some of the dilemmas they raise through two initial products: a website that is both easily accessible and provides an in-depth presentation of the models studied;  and a policy paper highlighting a set of recommendations for leveraging the lessons learned from these models. The policy paper is being prepared for publication on the site.

Finally, the ICTRP aims to facilitate cooperation among key regulators who are dealing with this challenge in selected national and international jurisdictions; and among selected social media platforms that have initiated self-regulation with respect to hostile and illegal content.

Research Methodology

The ICTRP project utilizes a qualitative methodology. At the initial mapping stage, relevant national laws, strategies and policies were compiled from the US, UK, Israel, Germany and France; and relevant international treaties and arrangements from the United Nations, NATO, the EU, the OSCE, Interpol and Europol. Policy documents of selected social media platforms were also mapped. Next, an in-depth analysis of these regulatory and policy documents was conducted, including the various definitions of terms such as “terrorist act” and “terror organization”, in order to compare and contrast conceptual approaches. In addition to primary regulatory sources, ICT researchers have also gathered reports and articles that synthesize current research on the topics researched, both within specific jurisdictions and globally.

A comparative methodology was utilized in the policy paper. ICT researchers analyzed how regulations and policies in each of the selected countries and organizations address the aforementioned categories of terrorist use of the internet. The analysis supported two separate sets of initial findings: (a) an overall mapping of the existing policy situation in each jurisdiction or organization; and (b) a cross-section of the treatment of each of the ten categories of terrorist abuse of the internet by the jurisdictions and organizations studied. Thus, for example, the treatment of incitement, recruitment, and financing may be compared across jurisdictional and organizational boundaries. Please find here the full annex of the policy paper (Annex 1: Taxonomy of Terrorist Use of the Internet, which is also available on the website; Annex 2: Existing Laws Regarding Terrorist Use of the Internet; Annex 3: Existing Strategies and Policies Regarding Terrorist Use of the Internet).

The Team

Founder & Executive Director, International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT), Ronald Lauder Chair for Counter-Terrorism & Dean of the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy & Strategy, The Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya, Israel

Research Associate & Adjunct Professor, The International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT), The Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Research Fellow, Tel Aviv University Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center

Director of Development & Senior Researcher, The International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT), The Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya, Israel

Deputy Executive Director, The International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT), The Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya, Israel

Researcher & Project Coordinator, The International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT), The Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya, Israel

Expert Peer Reviewers

Ms. Sigalit Maor-Hirsh, Dr. Kubo Mačák, Dr. Nicolas Mazzucchi, Adv. Jonathan Alexandron Moshonov,  Dr. David Scharia, Ms. Rhea Siers, Dr. Tim H. Stuchtey, Adv. Avraham Yishai


Research Assistants

Mr. Etai Handman, Ms. Lila Levy, Ms. Agathe Pichol, Ms. Céline Bruchi, Mr. Constantin Henrichs,
Mr. David Kirsch, Mr. Joshua Jacobs, Mr. Jörg Peschak, Ms. Rebecca Simons, Ms. Rita Gilbert, Mr. Sam Price, Ms. Sapir Negrin, Ms. Sarah Better, Mr. Vylius Vrubliauskas