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PM: Net giants give hate 'safe space to breed' ATTACK ON BRITAIN: IT'S TIME TO FIGHT BACK ON THE WEB; May warns of online crackdown; Politicians blast 'slow to act' firms.

Byline: JACK BLANCHARD Political Editor

THERESA May has issued fresh warnings to internet giants to get tougher on online extremism.

The Prime Minister yesterday accused the likes of Facebook and Google of giving terrorist ideology "the safe space needed to breed".

Politicians from all major parties also blasted social media for failing to take down extremist material faster.

Repeating her G7 remarks, the PM said: "We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed. Yet that is precisely what the internet - and the big companies that provide internet-based services - provide.

"We need to work with allied, democratic governments to reach international agreements that regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremism and terrorist planning."

Labour MP John Mann went further and said: "I repeat my call for the internet companies who terrorists have again used to communicate to be held legally liable for content." Former Tory Cabinet Minister Iain Duncan Smith told the BBC the attack should be "the final straw" for these firms.

He said members of the public had complained to him web giants were "quick to use your data, very slow to close down really dodgy data".

But ex-Met Police chief Lord Brian Paddick said action would only work with international co-operation.

The Lib Dem peer said: "We know from what we've tried with online pornography that, other than blocking websites completely, there is nothing we can do in the UK about US-based companies." Though he warned against ending encrypted messaging by services such as WhatsApp.

The issue was highlighted by Home Secretary Amber Rudd after Westminster terrorist Khalid Masood's attack. The killer used the service shortly before his atrocity.

Lord Paddick said: "Encryption is there to protect people. Banks use it. All sorts of people use it. It can be got round by the security services by tapping into phones and computers." As armed officers patrolled at The Shard yesterday, next to London Bridge station, internet firms insisted they were fighting online extremism.

Google said: "We're already working with industry colleagues on an international forum to accelerate and strengthen existing work in this area.

"We employ thousands of people and invest hundreds of millions of pounds to fight abuse on our platforms." Facebook policy director Simon Milner said: "Using a combinato tion of technology and human review, we work aggressively to remove terrorist content from our platform as soon as we become aware of it."

And Twitter's Nick Pickles said: "We continue to expand the use of technology as part of a systematic approach to removing this type of content. We will continue to engage with partners across industry, government, civil society and academia."

Digital campaigners hit out at the PM for blaming online firms. The Open Rights Group said: "The internet and companies like Facebook are not a cause of hatred, but tools that can be abused." They warned tougher internet regulation "could push vile networks into darker corners of the web, where they will be harder to observe".

Prof Peter Neumann, of King's College London's International Centre for the Study Of Radicalisation, added: "Few people radicalised exclusively online. Blaming social media platforms is politically convenient but intellectually lazy."

There is nothing we can do about US-based companies LORD BRIAN PADDICK wants global approach Community must be empowered to challenge ideas contrary to our values ADAM DEEN ON MEASURES THAT NEED TO BE TAKEN


LINE OF DEFENCE Armed cops at Shard - but who will protect us from web terror?
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Author:JACK BLANCHARD Political Editor
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 5, 2017
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