SIGNAL fellow Dr. Michael Barak participated in the first ever World Internet Conference, held November 19th through 21st in Wuzhen, Zhejiang Province. The conference, also known as the Wuzhen Summit, promotes the development of the internet as a global shared resource for economic progress and human solidarity, and was jointly organized by the Cyberspace Administration of China and the People’s Government of Zhejiang Province. Though the internet has undoubtedly brought about economic development, conference organizers recognized that this development has admittedly been unbalanced and uneven globally, and brings with it a number of different challenges, not the least of which are the ever-growing cyber security threats. Addressing these challenges, the conference theme of “An Interconnected World Shared and Governed by All” covered a variety of topics, ranging from internet governance, cyber security, technological innovation, and the role of the internet in promoting economic and social development. As part of the conference theme, Dr. Barak presented the topic “Electronic Jihadi: The Use of Cyber by Salafi-Jihadist Organizations.”
Dr. Barak is currently a researcher and project manager at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya. He serves as team leader of the Global Jihad & Jihadi Websites Monitoring Group and the team research manager of the ICT Cyber-Desk In addition, Mr. Barak is a Teaching Assistant at the IDC in the field of Global Jihad, Iran and Modern Shia, and Hybrid Terrorist Organizations. Dr. Barak is also a researcher and a member of the Social Media Networks in the Arab World (Beehive) research board at The Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies (MDS) in Tel Aviv University (TAU). Prior to his current post he was the team leader of Arabic, Turkish & Persian Online Media at the Arabic Press Archive of MDS. SIGNAL considered Dr. Michael Barak’s expertise as extremely relevant to the goals and subject matter of the World Internet Conference, and as such was honored that he could speak in Wuzhen.