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Nick Donnelly, Anne Hillstrom, Natalie Mestry
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Nick Donnelly, Anne Hillstrom, Natalie Mestry
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An evidence synthesis of strategies, enablers and barriers for keeping secrets online regarding the procurement and supply of illicit drugs

This systematic review attempts to understand how people keep secrets online, and in particular how people use the internet when engaging in covert behaviours and activities regarding the procurement and supply of illicit drugs.

With the Internet and social media being part of everyday life for most people in western and non-western countries, there are ever-growing opportunities for individuals to engage in covert behaviours and activities online that may be considered illegal or unethical.

A search strategy using Medical Subject Headings terms and relevant key words was developed. A comprehensive literature search of published and unpublished studies in electronic databases was conducted.

Additional studies were identified from reference lists of previous studies and (systematic) reviews that had similar objectives as this search, and were included if they fulfilled our inclusion criteria. Two researchers independently screened abstracts and full-texts for study eligibility and evaluated the quality of included studies. Disagreements were resolved by a consensus procedure. The systematic review includes 33 qualitative studies and one cross-sectional study, published between 2006 and 2018.

Five covert behaviours were identified: the use of communication channels; anonymity; visibility reduction; limited posts in public; following forum rules and recommendations. The same technologies that provide individuals with easy access to information, such as social networking sites and forums, digital devices, digital tools and services, also increase the prevalence of inaccurate information, loss of privacy, identity theft and disinhibited communication.

This review takes a rigorous interdisciplinary approach to synthesising knowledge on the strategies adopted by people in keeping secrets online. Whilst the focus is on the procurement and supply of illicit drugs, this knowledge is transferrable to a range of contexts where people keep secrets online. It has particular significance for those who design online/social media applications, and for law enforcement and security agencies.

(From the journal abstract)


Aikaterini Grimani, Anna Gavine and Wendy Moncur, 2020. An evidence synthesis of strategies, enablers and barriers for keeping secrets online regarding the procurement and supply of illicit drugs. International Journal of Drug Policy. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2019.102621

Terrorist Decision Making in the Context of Risk, Attack Planning, and Attack Commission

Terrorists from a wide array of ideological influences and organizational structures consider security and risk on a continuous and rational basis. The rationality of terrorism has been long noted of course but studies tended to focus on organizational reasoning behind the strategic turn toward violence. A more recent shift within the literature has examined rational behaviors that underpin the actual tactical commission of a terrorist offense. This article is interested in answering the following questions: What does the cost–benefit decision look like on a single operation? What does the planning process look like? How do terrorists choose between discrete targets? What emotions are felt during the planning and operational phases? What environmental cues are utilized in the decision-making process? Fortunately, much insight is available from the wider criminological literature where studies often provide offender-oriented accounts of the crime commission process. We hypothesize similar factors take place in terrorist decision making and search for evidence within a body of terrorist autobiographies.

(From the journal abstract)


Paul Gill, Zoe Marchment, Emily Corner, and Noémie Bouhana. 2018. ‘Terrorist Decision Making in the Context of Risk, Attack Planning, and Attack Commission’. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism: https://doi.org/10.1080/1057610X.2018.1445501.

Lessons from the Extreme: What Business Negotiators Can Learn from Hostage Negotiations

Editors’ Note: The high-stakes world of the hostage negotiator draws instinctive respect from other negotiators. But if you operate in another domain, you could be excused for thinking that hostage negotiation has nothing to do with you.

That impression, it turns out, is quite often wrong. Here, two researchers draw parallels to several kinds of business and other disputes in which it often seems that one of the parties acts similarly to a hostage taker. Understanding what hostage negotiators have learned to do in response can be a real asset to a negotiator faced with one of these situations.

(From the book abstract)


Taylor, Paul J., and William A. Donohue. 2017. ‘Lessons from the Extreme: What Business Negotiators Can Learn from Hostage Negotiations’. In Negotiator’s Desk Reference, edited by Chris Honeyman and Andrea Kupfer Schneider. DRI Press. www.ndrweb.com.

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