Australia warned the use of encrypted messaging apps to plan terrorist attacks was the greatest threat faced by intelligence agencies in modern times and urged a “united and cohesive” response last March 17, 2018.
In the ASEAN-Australia special summit in Sydney, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said that the use of the “dark web” by extremists and other criminals was a spiraling problem.
“The use of encrypted messaging apps by terrorists and criminals is potentially the most significant degradation of intelligence capability in modern times,” he said.
The Home Affairs Minister also added that the only way to deal with the threat, and the increasing use of the internet by groups like Islamic State to radicalise and recruit new members, was together.
“While our nations are focused on countering the ongoing threat of terrorism domestically, it would be a mistake to approach the problem from a purely national perspective,” he said.
“Terrorism and violent extremism transcend national borders.
“Countering the threat requires a united and cohesive regional effort involving coordination between our respective national security and law enforcement agencies.”
The Southeast Asian states are being helped already by the Canberra to choke terrorist financing and counter violent extremism. The problem has been exacerbated by jihadists now being forced out of Syria and Iraq with the Islamic State caliphate mostly crushed.
The issue was driven home last year when pro-Islamic State militants seized the city of Marawi with Australia aiding Manila to win it back.
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, with Australia a dialogue partner since 1974.