CounteR – an Innovative Tool for Detecting Radical Content Online

MITLA’s participation in EU-funded project focused on data privacy law and intellectual property law briefs.

MITLA, the Malta Information Technology Law Association, announces the successful completion of the three-year CounteR Project, funded through Horizon 2020 – EU’s flagship research and innovation programme.

30 April 2024 marks the formal completion of the CounteR Project – Countering radicalisation for a safer world: privacy-first situational awareness platform for violent terrorism and crime prediction, counter radicalisation and citizen protection.

The project’s most significant achievement is the Counter Platform: an innovative early-warning tool to detect radical content online. Operational in 12 languages, the CounteR Platform can: perform proactive content monitoring across platforms and sites on the open, deep and dark webs; detect and moderate radical content, extremist ideologies and hate speech; and analyse text and images. The CounteR Platform helps law-enforcement agencies, internet providers and social media platforms identify threats and tackle radicalisation. 

MITLA’s focus throughout the project was to ensure that the Counter Platform is built around strong privacy and data protection fundamentals, as well as assist the consortium partners in a vast array of intellectual property law assignments.

“Unlike tools that only focus on one form of extremism, CounteR detects content across a variety of radicalisation domains, including jihadism and extremist ideologies. This ensures a comprehensive and holistic approach to monitoring and combating radical content online. The Platform is definitely not the only project result. The multidisciplinary team of CounteR is also proud with the valuable research findings, produced within the project that helped tremendously for understanding the psychological and sociological dynamics of radicalisation”, CounteR’s project coordinator Catalin Trufin from Assist Software commented.

MITLA represented Malta in the CounteR consortium, which includes a total of 18 reputable organisations across 11 EU member states.

Data science specialists analysed vast datasets to uncover patterns and trends. Utilising advanced algorithms, project experts developed sophisticated tools to detect and predict indicators of radicalisation. Through SNA methodologies, our experts enabled the identification of radicalisation hotspots, key nodes and communities within these networks whilst respecting the various fundamental human rights, most notably privacy, a key element underpinning the successful development of such a tool”, Dr Antonio Ghio, president of MITLA noted.

Building upon the valuable work conducted within the project, the consortium is committed to leveraging its results and continuing to develop and refine them into a tangible, final product. To ensure the sustainability of the project, proactive steps are being taken to secure additional funding, enabling the CounteR solution to progress to the next level.

To learn more about the project, follow CounteR on X and on LinkedIn; check the CounteR website, and the full set of project newsletters.

About MITLA:

The Malta IT Law Association (MITLA) is active in the research, discussion and circulation of information on legal developments taking place on the international plane and within the European Union with respect to ICT Law and the knowledge economy. MITLA is registered as a Voluntary Organisation (VO/1166) in terms of Article 3 of the Voluntary Organisations Act 2007 (Act No, XXII of 2007), Malta.

MITLA is a member of the INPLP

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