CAIRO: Egypt s Interior Minister Habib El-Adly has called for states to close down websites hosting material connected with terrorist activity.
The call was made during the 20th INTERPOL African regional conference, hosted in Cairo from July 7-9.
“The initiative to fight terrorists use of the internet came out of an early awareness created by the terrorist acts witnessed internationally, during which the internet was used as a primary tool in the training of terrorist elements in the use of weapons and explosives, and how to implement operations, the MENA news agency quotes El-Adly as saying in his speech, which was delivered by assistant interior minister Adly Fayed during the conference s opening ceremony.
“For this reason we are underling the importance of unifying efforts towards the passing of an international mechanism obligating all states in which large internet providers and telecommunications companies provide these services to countries all over the world to close websites which host materials connected with the manufacture or use of weapons, El-Adly s speech continues.
Retired state security investigations officer Fouad Allam supports El-Adly s call.
“I ve spoken about these websites, and made clear how dangerous they are, on a number of occasions. They demonstrate how to make bombs and weapons, Allam said.
“However most of these sites do not originate in Egypt and Egypt is the country which will benefit least from any measures taken because terrorists here do not really use these sites.
Reporters Without Borders said in a report published in March that Egyptian web users are the most repressed in the world, and rights groups have long cautioned against the potential misuse of government measures to control online content.
Amr El-Choubaki, an expert from the Al-Ahram Center for Strategic and Political Studies, echoed this, saying of the measures called for by El-Adly, “There must be a guarantee that any such law must not be used by the state as a pretext to close peaceful opposition websites – such as the Muslim Brotherhood s site – with the excuse that they are terrorist in nature. While the international community as a whole must tackle terrorist websites, any such law should not be used to silence voices in Egypt.
El-Adly also called for the drawing up and ratification of a United Nations counter-internet crime international treaty. In addition, he underlined the importance of red notices – international arrest warrants – being given the force of law, enabling states to detain wanted persons for a specified amount of time.
INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald Noble added that Egypt is among the list of the countries which has issued most international arrest warrants.
“Recently Egypt has issued around 738 arrest warrants for terrorist suspects. Bilateral extradition treaties . must be put in place, Noble was quoted as saying by MENA.
Similar calls were made by El-Adly in 2007, during INTERPOL s Operational Fusion Task Force in the Middle East, during which senior police officers and terrorism experts discussed counter-terrorism strategies through information-sharing. -Additional reporting by Raghda El-Halawany.