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tv   Haroon Ullah Digital World War  CSPAN  January 2, 2018 12:00am-1:01am EST

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elected representatives in the party have been willing to step away from his agenda. >> thehe struggle continues. please think join me in thanking linda gordon. [applause] ..
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[inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon to the heritage foundation and those on the website joining us on c-span booktv please make sure
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mobile devices have been silenced and online you can send questions or comments at any time. of course we will post the program today following the presentation for everyone's future reference. we encourage you to buy copies of digitalal world war i am sure our author will glatt be glad to have that support coming into christmas. we have our margaret thatcher fellow in the margaret thatcher center of freedom before arriving at heritage at the henry jackson society as well as provided oral evidence before parliamentary committees was the
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intelligence over britain's agencies with a degree of u.s. foreign policy at the study off america's at the university of london and earned his bachelors degree in international history. [applause] it is great to be back. t12 was that the chief dreaded officer. a scholar and policy practitioner with a focus on digital strategy and counter violence extremism. most recently, haroon ullah was on the planning staff at the state o department teaching at georgetown university and is a member on the council of
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foreign relations. and as a presidential scholar and the fulbright fellow. what else is there to say? he is here to speak of his fascinating new book, "digital world war" the floor is yours. [applause] the floor is yours. [applause] i am thrilled to be with you here today to talk about something i am very passionate about which is the information battlefieldd that is not either well understood or well thought of with national
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security. starting off with o the story for my book doing a lot of work with interviews there is going to be a data driven approach. there is a database of defectors.ta and i wanted to think carefully about what are the reasons t that young people are attracted to this propaganda or that make somebody join or fan boys support their ecosystem. so a defector had come back recently. so with a one word identification so i thought about the one word answer that
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we would give which would be horrendous or horrific or murdered verse that those words but she started blogging. trust. and we want to make sure because it struck me. how do you describe the disconnect? and how they come to a very differento conclusion looking at propaganda and how they are communicating with young
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people while doing research for the book. so to say one thing in arabic but i want to give you some key insights. only to talk about solutions. and what we can do together to fight well and that fight back. so what i just told you about is the audience segmentation.
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and then to wear the pants in the family. if you think about that to be in a content war. so with that customer journey so the narrower the audience the bigger the impact. so have this in english not even the top five languages. with social media with arabic, russian, french, so think how they are reaching out to somebody. a
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so mentioning those one-word associations they are very dark. so to sell this gloomy narrative. so to read that messaging upwards of 80% is poverty messaging. it isn't that. so to instill fear or other languages but there is a lot of positive messaging. so to be disenfranchised with the failed arab spring and and then you say with social media
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and then to hand out candy to young kids. so the other thing that struck me as part of the insight segmentation those key influencers part of theen ecosystem. those that hope to scale up the message. the storyboarding and the outletss with the key influencers to help elevate the message. one person that kept coming up again interview after interview okay so most of us i'm not sure who he is but in
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the region it isn't something i readily come across. mohammed is the most popular person in the middle east on twitter. sometimes that is a shocking fact. i will get answers like king abdullah or an actor or actress oran politician as the extremist or t the cleric with over 20 million followers on twitter. but also prolific on snap and across platforms. one of the single biggest drivers why young people not violating the terms of service but that complements what they are doing young people are watching them and then has a
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huge following across the world. so if you look at the 100 most followed people he is right after hillary clinton and right before ed sheeran. he has a huge constituency and platform. if you think of a counter narrative so see that type of charisma that buys into those ways so that is the first point that audience segmentation matters the second thing to focus on is the idea of the real time feedback loops so speed kills
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so what we find with isis they are perfecting their pitch like any good marketing strategy. they will try certain things but they can move very quickly. but at the height it was 35000 looking at the whole ecosystem. so toud change something even with the halloween attack there on those other channels you saw them actually because
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they are up against that global coalition. third, is the idea that platform agility matters. so i can to segmentation with real-time feedback so i found they were very skillful making them more influential is the
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ability to meet -- too close platforms and things that we are not that familiar with. but a lot of people have not paid attention to it is a new app in over 20 countries and has passed snap and it is called saraha. like old school bulletin board. like you can post anonymous messages it was supposed to be in the workplace to give feedback to colleaguess but it was also used for bullying and
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now to recruit. we talk about twitter and facebook but they have moved on we were talking about this the other day we had representatives testifying on the hill that is supported and censorship plays a role but think about it we are three years late they came online 2014i don't want to be talking about saraha in two years and they are moving at a much faster rate.
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so they are reaching out and without instant messaging app that was developed in japan but in indonesia there is 90 million users. so thinking through platform agility for how to reach certain audiences that is where i have talked a lot inot my book i think of myself as the field person or ten years in the middle east and that is right want to start our dialogue. and with that real-time feedback. and with platform agility.
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and then to be defeated on the physical battlefield but on that battlefield that includes social media. those that we understand as well. and to talk about crowdsourcing. and to leverage those new platforms.s. and then to have collective
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action to have the best technologist to have the right indians and i talked about this so we need almost a new manhattan project we need that level of urgencyrg to combat so there is alternative pathway narratives we know the voices of mothers and defectors their stories are incredibly influential.
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these are things that we know that work. how do we get those stories to increase the impact? so the backfire effect. if you think of check mom -- tit for tat if the caliphate is bountiful know it is not. be careful because often times we can get into this trap to reinforce the predisposed belief to counter the narrative. something different with the alternative pathway so these are the thousands of young people i have met how do you tell their stories that are authentic or organic with the idea behind this?
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also with social media incubators. there is one group that are fantastic taking on isis in a lot of ways to use satire because you can't forget that a lot of what makes isis influential is game of thrones using the new media and animation and drama and music and there are many examples of those that are combating them but they are taking them on. and then move on to do different things but they tackle those narrativesre that is like the alternative
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pathways. so the youtube spaces are very influential. they are producing organic content. so there are these potential vehicles but how do you supercharge those efforts? and third there is room in the computational propaganda of how you tackle them using techniquesth with the role of bots there is some interesting work done in the space of targeted ads. so google will look at what searches peoplee are using to say how do i travel to syria?
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so there is an ad that comes up in their ways to target for those that are looking at certain types of content. that is a way to reach a certain targeted audience. this is the part about the content wars but these techniques if i was to describe our approach like counterinsurgency research shows to tackle isis it actually models the spread of herpes with close contact my data shows you can actually
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follow the replication and how fast it is spread we have a lot to learn from public health. it isn't like somebody gets up in the public square to say let's join isis. it is very targeted and nuanced so the hotspots a lot of times you think of networks and neighborhoods so that it is highly localized 80% of foreign fighters came from a neighborhood in tunis. from the southern part of brussels. thinking of hotspots you have a better sense of the city of the unit we are trying to study and now coming up with a
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more robust way to think of intervention and campaigns. we have a long way to go think about this blueprint of new manhattan project. social media incubators that the data shows that ittcu works how to use artificial intelligence how you scale up content with a coordinated campaign because this matters on the information battlefield. the urgency cannot be understated. otherwise we find ourselves behind the curve so we are
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left behind. thank you so much. [applause] >> this is a fantastic presentation. these solutions talk about the local pathway and with the response to the local. and i should also say writing about this very recently i would encourage you to check out but obviously to be very popular even though the saudi government and how they can
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utilize the message for their own purpose but at the same time draws the people to the caliphate. so how do you go about approaching that kind of problem? >> that is a great question. a couple things. one is understanding success. on the face he has not violated any terms of service or twitter would have taken him off because he goes up to the line but doesn't necessarily cross. he will use a robert frost poem like the road not taken suggesting that there is another path to success. did he violate any terms of service? not necessarily but young
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people get motivated by what he said and then draw conclusion what they should be doing because because he ralliesle people to say don't stay-at-home injustice there. young people want to do something. so he is skillful. so that is why when i am in discussions i think there is a role for taking content down but think through in this contenthe war that is not the panacea itself use the new groups so the point is there is a rule for taking it down but they are evolving faster so think about the language.
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number two in the echo chamber , who are the anti- mohammed's? there is another person who is not nearly as high on the followers list. how do people support or build ecosystems in civil society to help his messaging? because it's like he brings a gun and his competition brings the knife. >> how do you match the intensity that is why these are important but who are they young? but the vast majority of clerics you just never heard of them you don't care because they don't have a platform. a third rate preacher who had never gotten aer job but he
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understood social media in a way is a path to stardom. who are the people that are fighting it? those that are described on the front lines so how does one amplify what they are doing? so think about responding. young people are for content. what are those narratives to combat those narratives? and it shows the influence over the saudi sopranos he is one of the few people that was spared. and that is not curtailed in the same sort of way with the outside influence because then
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there is even more of a backlash. so it shows how they are co-opted by establishment and recognizing the messenger matters so what is associated with the regime may not be the best messengers for the message. if you have the top cleric with the oldest institutions he may be seen so you have to find out who has organic voices in civil society to combat that message. [inaudible]
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>> terry miller with the heritage foundation. what does the united states government have or need to have in order to effectively address these problems? >> it is a great question. so the speed and part of that is the network approach. so the state department would take that. with is the inter- agency. to tackle this type of propaganda. and to be the manhattan project.
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so now it is 40 plus million so the military ban are we putting enough resources to enable those structures to be successful? so it isn't just ancillary information but it is on the backend. it is that new sphere. it is the new arena to protect the national security. we are only as good as our
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partners so to enable civil society and the private sector. so with that disparate and stakeholders to come on board. so that is the 1990 mod also want social media 1% of people are key influencers creating content. they are the game changers. those curators of content. those are like the soul pancakes of the world but 90% are passive consumers. so we have to get more of that 90% to move and be motivated
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because that is where these organic stories are. that is how you need to mobiliz mobilize. >> i have a question about law enforcement today from dhs down to local law enforcement so what parts do you think they are getting right now? or could improve themselves at the local level. >> there is a recognition in terms of law enforcement i have respect for field agents so the cases they deal with often times tend to be very immediate so just taking part
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of that public health approach it really is a city wide model not the cookie-cutter approach nationwide but going city to city that is the example of a project to link cities together around the world to cooperate with that is where they matter to those communities of interest and religious leaders and beginning law enforcement because they have to work in tandem. so there is that recognition but so we still think there there is no borders there is a group focused on the homeland and looking at interest abroad to me there is no borders
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anymore there has to be stronger and if you think of the nerve center to really harness the work thinking about that is a key part. and also combining the question to have the broadcasting board of governors so that content is on the frontline. so talk about content wars broadcasting governors putting how many thousand hours of broadcasting. eight in all these countries? through the broadcasting network we came out with a new boko her rom documentary that attacks directly to the narrative with that extremism does looking at ways to
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produce content because to me don't need a country model anymore it is language -based because there are no borders. >> i am a student at american university. my question is what is the biggest impact the islamic extremist and cybersupremacy have on government? can you relate this to autonomy and capacity? >> a very good question. so you are asking how do extremist change the political landscape in certain countries? a couple of ways. we often times in the world of diplomacy would say yes with
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the rise of the nonstate actors now they are moving to an arena that is unfamiliar at times but part of that is if they are not looking to govern so think about isis. they wanted to govern what they said was different they were interested because they wanted to govern. but over time two-point oh and three-point oh ones to be entirely virtual. meaning it is about the informational battlefield they don't want to be controlling any physical space per se. the total modus operandi is on the battlefield that changes the how do you interact with
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an actor who can't be found anywhere easily? so even in the way that we do counter insurgencies we are set up like cybercommand finally became a full unified command. that was just this august. so we are understanding this battlefield. dealing with the rise of the violent nonstate actors competing on a different battlefield. >> going into the information wars of people's hearts and minds but what about how these
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terrorist groups are using social media to target attacks a little more dangerous than trying to get the? >> had seen them and you have seen these groups for operational details and to end encryption. there are some that we are using so in a disaggregated way they can plant so you do them using this just to planning and plotting so it makes it tougher. one of the benefits you could say on the flipside to move off of the open-source
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platforms that you could track over and dialogue with them. then it becomes a lot harder to see what they are planning or the digital duster where are their footprint does make the job offer. >> the heritage foundation. is it worthwhile to increase resources to ramp up the side network so we know what they are doing from within on the social network were making many off of t2? >> so to think of those new technologies that we could garner human intelligence but
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i keep coming back is more of a collective action issue so how do we leverage that information with the actors we are trying to motivate and incentivize that are the key messengers? how are we building out that network? and to have that information so how do we bridge that gap? you get places where do the next ten turns come from? there are ways we can support or amplify or encourage or even young people coming up with creative things even talked about me there will be
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ten new apps like that in the next three months so how do we get ahead of that curve of young people innovating? and then they are passionate about tackling that ideology. [inaudible] >> government plays a key role to overcome the collective action problem and often they do that in smart ways like venture capital to seed money to small efforts and then they get scaled up so most of those successful efforts run from the state department will give
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out grants that did well then got money for the private sector. so what the u.s. government can do is take chances on certain projects with her private sector will not fund that. so with that early-stage investor we have fantastic officers in the field with almost every country, how do you leverage? and with those stringers on the ground they have the best sense of what is going on on the ground and what may work to have her best to better leverage the.
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[inaudible] i was wondering if you would share your thoughts of dual use policy should be regarding the double edged sword of encryption any groups that are coming into power they rely on encryption to get around but at the same time just like t3 terrorist groups exploit that if we help breaking that encryption do we risk undermining those other policy objectives so what are the trade-offs in the policy? >> i appreciated your remarks about the 1% and 9% and the
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90%. and it reminded me of the importance to write her suede americans are so caught up researching and analyzing that if we are fortunate we get to the point to evaluate we are never writing to persuade that sounds like that is capitalizing b on as a dominant competitive advantage. >> both are very good questions and it is a tough issue.
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we have to protect freedom of speech and that outlet have had journalists that are in jail that are under constant threat all over the world. so how we can protect storytelling is key because other government don't share that idea. with censorship and wanting to control with those stories are. so the technology moves so quickly i can tell you having studied that going through it very carefully they are working on the new technology that we cannot even pronounce with encryption but so talk
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about the recent data on artificial intelligence that it is improving exponentially to recognize that isis content to take it down before it gets to the wider audience. there is a rule for that but i want us to put more focus on getting those stories or the scholars or creating the new t3 of those that are motivated through innovation to develop these platforms i tend to think on the technology side
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where the tech companies but then they cooperate withw- law-enforcement so those work well so then the focus is on the content more and how do we enable the stories that are not heard? a great point on the idea of informing because of the customer journey so even with my earlier books why would people do something like this? put yourself in their shoes and read the propaganda to understand how to tackle it. that is the hallmark of persuasion and too often we think of the counter narratives with that backfire
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effect. so i think it is important not to fall into that trap. >> it's me again with the heritage foundation are there any partisan differences of approach to hamstring the u.s. effort or is it bipartisan consensus of what needs to be done? i worked at the state for many years but with that bipartisan approach keeping us safe,
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working every day it is very bipartisan we are not set up ideally but there is so much of willing interest you won't get any close doors they are ready and willing have always been very open to do partnerships together a few colleagues from pakistan would counter extremism so who pulls this together? that is the bigger thing we need to unlock and that is the key. so writing this book and interviewing the defectors see
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the things that are going on. it could be depressing but i am always reminded to have a great line he said don't get frightened by the furious and violent when they only blow to make you fly higher. so how can we put together this new manhattan project? not only today but for future generations b-17. >> so coming out with any sense of optimism but with the
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note to end on you are welcome back to the heritage foundation. b-17. [inaudible conversations]
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>> my first meeting with ronald reagan was october 1965. spending the last several months testing the waters to see if the people of california but i called him up as i was working in a profile i said can i come out and visit he said yes. so for two days myself and my
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wife traveled with him. she was active in new york politics and i valued her judgment she was also editor and fellow co-author with me. there are four of us in the limo with the driver and in the front seat and me in the back he and reagan was the tape recorder. i had a recorder that was this big. it is like a piece of luggage wheel to wheel and i had that between us. a great big microphone so i was asking him questions.
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i asked about his political philosophy. 1965. he quoted in 1947 interview in which he said coming from management or labor or government whatever imposes on the freedom of the individual is tyranny and must be opposed. i was his philosophy that he had come to over years of study and reflection. at the end of the second day we were convinced he's got it. he's really got it. and he said come up to the house and have some i.c.e. tea. we went to pacific palisades to their home. very modest actually he was
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working for ge all those years and went into the kitchen with nancy to do the ice-t and put us in the library which was very small. here were the shelves and shelves of books. what do i do? i begin looking at titles. history. politics. economics. volume after volume conservative plastics in the road to serfdom witnessed by whittaker chambers of the next soviet spy in the classic of
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its time and the law that i have not read that yet. i learned later a 19th century economist and somebody that would influence many people including ronald reagan. i said okay. so i reached out to take the books off the shelves. don't do that. i open up dogeared. underlined, freezes in the margins. i am not saying he read every book that closely but those plastics, yes he had. and here was a thinking and reasoning person who had
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aligned his philosophy with the old-fashioned way one book at a time. i said right then and there, reagan is an intellectual. . . . . it's the subject of tonights for him and also the title of the latest book on the subject. the director and we are pleased to have rachel as our speaker tonight on the last stop of the tour that begs the question of


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