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Home Office to run natural language analysis for counter-terrorism


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Home Office is planning to use a natural language processing (NLP) analysis platform in its counter-terrorism activities.

The move derives from a need to better recognise and track trends in extremist propaganda, building datasets that can align with others to understand how it is affecting attitudes and behaviours.

The department wants to better understand the trends so it can provide relevant policy and operational advice.

It has carried out some concept work on how to apply NLP to the issue, and intends to use this in developing a platform through its analysts working with a specialist in the field.

Procurement begins

As the next stage, it has published a procurement notice for a supplier to work with it on the development of an NLP analysis platform to collect and index a heavy volume of text based propaganda, giving the user the ability to search for content by time, producer, title or keywords.

This should meet a need to find patterns in rhetoric, themes, the influence of messages or messengers and how propaganda can influence potential terrorists.

The move is the latest in the Home Office’s efforts to use digital systems against the spread of online extremist propaganda. A year ago it announced the development of a software tool to automatically detect content from the Daesh terrorist group on any online platforms.

Images from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0


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