ISLAMIC STATE PROPAGANDA MACHINE HIT BY LAW ENFORCEMENT IN COORDINATED TAKEDOWN ACTION
On 25 April 2018 law enforcement authorities of the European Union Member States, Canada and the USA launched a joint action against the so-called Islamic State (IS) propaganda machine in order to severely disrupt their propaganda flow.
The takedown operation was coordinated by the European Union Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) within the European Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC) at the Europol headquarters.
Led by the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office and with the support of Eurojust, the operation involved authorities from Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Romania, the United Kingdom and the USA in a coordinated effort to hinder IS’s central capability to broadcast terrorist material for an undetermined period of time.
The case started at the end of 2015 when Europol informed all EU Member States about the rise of the Amaq News Agency and the technical resilience of the terrorist online infrastructure. Since then law enforcement agencies have, in a continuous joint effort, taken down the web assets of the media outlet.
In August 2016, thanks to contributions from EU Member States and non-EU countries, a first takedown was launched against Amaq’s mobile application and web infrastructure.
This action forced the propagandists to build a more complex and secure infrastructure to prevent further disruption from law enforcement.
In June 2017 a second strike, led by the Spanish Guardia Civil and supported by Europol and the USA, targeted part of the news agency’s web assets and infrastructure.
The servers seized by the Guardia Civil allowed for the identification of radicalised individuals in more than 100 countries worldwide.