'Blame the internet' is just not a good enough response, Theresa May

Posted in: Government & Policy at 06/06/2017 15:06

We can feel pretty certain that the London Bridge attackers did the following things: owned smartphones; and used Google, YouTube, Facebook and WhatsApp. That isn’t because owning those things and using those services marks you out as a terrorist: it’s because it marks you out as someone living in the west in the 21st century.

The problem, as those companies (actually only two: Google owns YouTube, and Facebook owns WhatsApp) are discovering, is that politicians aren’t too picky about the distinction. Speaking outside 10 Downing St this morning, Theresa May was much more aggressive in her tone than previously. The London Bridge attack had its roots in Islamic extremism, she observed: “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.” She continued: “We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements that regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremism and terrorism planning.”

Also see:

After London attacks, British prime minister calls for worldwide Internet regulations to fight terrorism
British Prime Minister Theresa May is calling for greater regulation of the Internet in light of the deadly weekend attacks in London. But technology experts are saying that the U.K. government's surveillance powers are already so vast that there is little else officials can do to digitally monitor terrorism suspects without violating innocent people's human rights.

May blamed Internet providers and large websites on Sunday for providing violent extremism “the safe space it needs to breed.”

She called on governments around the world to develop “international agreements that regulate cyberspace” to battle terrorism. “And we need to do everything we can at home to reduce the risks of extremism online,” she said in a speech on Downing Street.

Q&A: Christian Porter backs calls to combat terrorism by regulating internet
The Coalition minister Christian Porter has supported calls by the British prime minister to further regulate the internet in order to tackle the threat of terrorism and radicalisation.

Porter, the social services minister, was speaking on ABC’s Q&A program, which addressed calls by Theresa May for increased anti-terrorism powers, such as preventative detention and greater regulation of internet-based radicalisation after the latest London terrorist attacks.

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