The Digital Seduction of Evil: Terrorism and Hate Speech on the Internet

The Digital Seduction of Evil: Terrorism and Hate Speech on the Internet
19 Jun 2019, 18:00 to 19 Jun 2019, 19:00
Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR


Title: The Digital Seduction of Evil: Terrorism and Hate Speech on the Internet

Speaker: Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor, Chair in Politics and Founding Director of the Middle East Study Group (MESG), University of Hull; Distinguished Visiting Professor, UCL Faculty of Laws 

Chair: Professor Carl Stychin, Director, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies

The Internet provides cheap, virtually untraceable, instantaneous, and anonymous distribution that can be easily downloaded and posted in multiple places. It became an asset for terrorist organizations, criminals, hate groups and other anti-social individuals who abuse the Internet to transmit propaganda and provide information about their aims, to allow an exchange between like-minded individuals, to vindicate the use of violence, to de-legitimize and to demoralize their enemies, to raise cash, to enlist public support and to promote violent conduct. This lecture focuses on two major concerns: terrorism, and hate speech. In the democratic world, there is a wide consensus that those expressions are illegitimate and dangerous. The United States is exceptional in its liberal stance on hate speech. 

The lecture opens with offering definitions of terrorism and hate speech. It explains the problematics involved in line-drawing of what constitutes hate and the ways by which the Internet has been abused. I then discuss two important American precedents that restricted speech on the Internet: US Dept. of Housing & Urban Development, Jouhari and Pilar Horton v. Ryan Wilson and ALPHA HQ (July 19, 2000) and United States v. Machado 195 F.3d 454 (9th Cir. 1999) and examine who are the main targets of hate. I discuss the connection between hate speech, hate crime and terror, and offer remedies. It is argued that socially responsible people should not stand idly by while others are abusing freedom of expression to discriminate and victimized their targets for hate. We need to strike a balance between freedom of expression and social responsibility on the Internet. 

Raphael Cohen-Almagor, DPhil Oxford University; Chair in Politics, Founding Director of the Middle East Study Group, The University of Hull, and Distinguished Visiting Professor, Faculty of Laws, University College London (UCL). Raphael taught at Oxford, Jerusalem, Haifa, UCLA, Johns Hopkins, and Nirma University (India). In 2007-2008, he was Senior Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He is the author of many books, most recently Confronting the Internet's Dark Side (2015). Professor Cohen-Almagor is now working on two books: Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism, and From Oslo to Jerusalem on the failed peace process between Israel and the PLO. Web: . Blog:  Twitter: @almagor35

This event is free but advanced booking is required. 


IALS Events Office
020 7862 5800