The United Nations has expressed a desire to increase surveillance of internet users to aid the investigation and subsequent prosecution of terrorists.
A 148-page report named "The Use of the Internet for Terrorist Purposes" says terrorists are utilizing social networks and sharing sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Dropbox to spread propaganda.
"Potential terrorists use advanced communications technology often involving the Internet to reach a worldwide audience with relative anonymity and at a low cost," said Yury Fedotov, executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.
The report stresses that "one of the major problems confronting all law enforcement agencies is the lack of an internationally agreed framework for retention of data held by ISPs."
It adds that it would be an advantage if certain websites such as instant-messaging services and VoIP providers including Skype would keep records of "communication over the Internet such as chat room postings."
Other suggestions in the report include:
Open Wi-Fi networks:
Requiring registration for the use of Wi-Fi networks or cybercafes could provide an important data source for criminal investigations... There is some doubt about the utility of targeting such measures at Internet cafes only when other forms of public Internet access (e.g. airports, libraries and public Wi-Fi hotspots) offer criminals (including terrorists) the same access opportunities and are unregulated.
Cell phone tracking:
Location data is also important when used by law enforcement to exclude suspects from crime scenes and to verify alibis.
Terror video games:
Video footage of violent acts of terrorism or video games developed by terrorist organizations that simulate acts of terrorism and encourage the user to engage in role-play, by acting the part of a virtual terrorist.
Paying companies for surveillance:
It is therefore desirable that Governments provide a clear legal basis for the obligations placed on private sector parties, including... how the cost of providing such capabilities is to be met.