Notwithstanding inherent differences between the counterterrorist financing regime and the regulatory regime governing communication service providers, there are clear benefits in taking lessons learnt from longstanding efforts on terrorist financing into account when developing a response to the online terrorist threat.
The mass internment of Xinjiang’s Uyghurs in supposed ‘re-education’ facilities as a means of combatting violent extremism suggests that Beijing lacks confidence in the effectiveness of its intelligence architecture, and by extension, its capacity to identify and eliminate actual terrorist threats.
Scapegoating tech companies for online radicalisation is not only misguided – it detracts attention away from the crucial responsibility that society must bear in fighting the spread of violent extremism where it matters most: in the real world.
For all intents and purposes, Daesh has been defeated in Iraq and Syria, but key leaders and administrators of the short-lived Islamic State will not simply vanish from the global jihadist environment. They have their eyes set on Afghanistan, and intend to give the Taliban a run for their money.
While it is true that Italy has not, as of yet, experienced a large-scale terror attack like those seen in other parts of Europe, this is likely not the consequence of collusion between Italian mafias and jihadist cells as some have claimed.
In view of the terrorist threat and diversity of funding efforts, counter-terrorist financing efforts should aim to address the modus operandi of any given target, placing greater emphasis on the intelligence value that finance provides.