Exploring the capabilities of Prevent in addressing radicalisation in cyberspace within Higher Education

Sandford, Liam (2017) Exploring the capabilities of Prevent in addressing radicalisation in cyberspace within Higher Education. Masters thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

Text (Final thesis)
Liam Sandford - MSc Thesis.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License All Rights Reserved.

Download (988kB) | Preview


The Counter Terrorism and Security Act (2015) introduced a binding duty on public sector bodies, including education, to have ‘due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’. The Prevent duty has become widely controversial in the Higher Education sector with questions as to whether it contravenes academic freedom and freedom of speech. Arguments surrounding the premise of Prevent identify both safeguarding vulnerable people and targeting student communities, namely Muslims, as ways of a university implementing the duty. Despite this Prevent insists that the duty encompasses all forms of terrorism, including both right wing and Islamist extremism. Universities must have an IT policy outlining their approach to monitoring and filtering of web content, most of whom do not implement the methods. Increased use of cyberspace by terrorist organisations to recruit young people raises the need to implement Prevent in cyberspace. This research identifies three objectives to assess the capabilities of a university reducing radicalisation of students in cyberspace: 1. To establish the purpose and requirements of Prevent within Higher Education as well as the importance of it being implemented in cyberspace. 2. To carry out qualitative interviews with experts in Prevent and Higher Education in order to critically evaluate what Higher Education providers are doing to carry out Prevent within cyberspace. 3. To identify barriers from the interview evaluation that Higher Education providers might face should Prevent be extended to combat radicalisation in cyberspace. Prevent simply identifies monitoring and filtering as the methods available to implement in cyberspace but they are not assessed to analyse their capability of helping to reduce radicalisation. This research outlines the difficulties that monitoring and filtering have as methods to reduce radicalisation in cyberspace at universities. Additional, non-technical methods of reducing radicalisation in cyberspace are explored through 16 semi-structured interviews with individuals working in Prevent and Higher Education. Consideration is given to building students’ resilience to challenging information they see online through developing counter-narrative content for social media platforms that are used by young people. With students developing counter-narrative content themselves, specifically addressing vulnerability drivers to radicalisation, universities can enhance compliance with Prevent and create counter extremist content which can be used in cyberspace both in and outside of Higher Education.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Frederick, Brianbfrederick@glos.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Hobson, Jonathanjhobson@glos.ac.ukhttps://www.glos.ac.uk/staff/profile/jonathan-hobson/
Dooley, Paulinepdooley@glos.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Additional Information: Master of Science by Research
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cyber security; Radicalisation; Cyberspace: Counter-terrorism; United Kindgdom
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2019 10:40
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:24
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/6474

University Staff: Request a correction | Repository Editors: Update this record

University Of Gloucestershire

Bookmark and Share

Find Us On Social Media:

Social Media Icons Facebook Twitter Google+ YouTube Pinterest Linkedin

Other University Web Sites

University of Gloucestershire, The Park, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 2RH. Telephone +44 (0)844 8010001.