Home Secretary Amber Rudd holds meeting with leading tech firms over tackling terrorist content online
The world’s biggest technology companies have pledged to work harder to tackle terrorist propaganda online in the wake of last week’s attack in Westminster.
Earlier this week, Home Secretary Amber Rudd branded it “completely unacceptable” that messaging service providers such as WhatsApp and Apple are providing “a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other”.
In response, Silicon Valley firms have promised to work closely with the UK government and will “urgently” work to remove extremist content from their platforms.
Following a meeting with Rudd, representatives from Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter issued a joint statement: “Our companies are committed to making our platforms a hostile space for those who seek to do harm and we have been working on this issue for several years. We share the Government’s commitment to ensuring terrorists do not have a voice online.”
Rudd also made a statement of her own after the meeting, which focused on “the issue of access to terrorist propaganda online and the very real and evolving threat it poses”.
She said: “I’d like to see the industry go further and faster in not only removing online terrorist content but stopping it going up in the first place. I am clear that government and industry need to work more closely together on this issue so that law enforcement and the intelligence agencies can get access to the data they need to keep us safe.”
However, tech firms did stop short of mentioning anything to do with giving governments backdoor access into their systems and the delicate issue of encryption was notably absent in the statements released.
Progress has been made on this issue recently, with Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and Google joining forces to create a shared database to help tackle terrorist propaganda, but it is clear that there is still plenty of work to be done.
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