Controversial counter-terror policy in UK education networks

Controversial counter-terror policy in UK education networks

Summary: The UK government in recent weeks has strongly advised colleges and universities to monitor networks for Islamic fundamentalism and extremism. With the release of a "toolkit" by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, students are asking questions about their civil liberties.

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The UK government in recent weeks has strongly advised colleges and universities to monitor networks for Islamic fundamentalism and extremism. With the release of a "toolkit" by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, students are asking questions about their civil liberties.

This such move which went highly unreported when the news first broke, has been highly criticised by colleges, universities and student unions.

To put it simply, the government is pushing forward a policy which it strongly recommends all educational networks comply with, to ensure:

"...the prevention of staff or students from accessing illegal or inappropriate material through college ICT systems, including having appropriate monitoring systems in place with recourse to police and other partners as necessary."

This comes after a massive controversy at the University of Nottingham, near where I used to live, when two students were arrested under the Terrorism Act in relation to possession of radical material - which were also widely available on a US government website.

al-Qaeda, as a "network", is simply a blanket term for those engaged in terrorist related activities in the West. As the British Security Service has pointed out in a leaked document to a US website some months ago, and also being highlighted in the DIUS document on page 8:

"They can come from a range of geographical areas, from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds and include a number of converts to Islam."

And:

"[The document] concludes that it is not possible to draw up a typical profile of the "British terrorist" as most are "demographically unremarkable" and simply reflect the communities in which they live.

Besides the fear this new policy could ostracise the Muslim communities, it's understandable if students are feeling limited in specific areas of study, or feel uncomfortable in the level of survellience we as students are under.

The Home Office declined to comment on this story. Typical. Post your thoughts on this by leaving a comment below.

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5 comments
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  • Universites are supposed to be areas of free thought.

    Monitoring thought will always be a losing battle. Maybe its ok in the UK with their socialist laws, but it would not be acceptible in the US.

    I would assume they could monitor it either way in either country, but arresting someone in the US wouldnt happen solely on that evidence if it could even be considered evidence. Otherwise they could arrest white supremesists easily.
    Been_Done_Before
    • Kill this myth

      not all ideologies have equal validity, nor do they deserve equal
      attention. Blowing up school children is one of those. It doesn't merit
      debate, it doesn't merit analysis. It merits elimination. Period.
      frgough
      • Your a funny little man with a little mind for thinking.

        I do no support terrorist thinking, actions, or whatever they do to harm anyone.

        But what is important is to understand WHY they do what they do. What motivates them, what about their ideology makes them seems to have such a solid front that people actually sign up to kill themselves.

        Hitler was a political genius, does studying him make you a natzi? Does understanding his motives, actions and achievements make you anti-semetic? The answer is no.

        Again, thought police, its just a bad idea. Now if they want to use this to help narrow the list down, well i dont see any harm in that, but arresting people for viewing sites like this.. thats a bit out there.
        Been_Done_Before
  • RE: Controversial counter-terror policy in UK education networks

    I'd hope that the educational institutions are monitoring their own networks, as it would be foolish to believe that everyone that has access to that network, wouldn't have a personal agenda.

    Schools and colleges are funded with public money, therefore they have an obligation to the public to protect students from extreme views. Do they currently exist? You wouldn't know if you didn't bother to monitor.
    Custard_over_2x_Pie
  • A person is allowed to be an extremist

    It's only when they start killing someone or trying to infringe on someone ELSE'S rights that they have done something wrong and should be monitored or jailed.
    Lerianis