Posted on August 1, 2017 by staff

Home Secretary wants Silicon Valley to tackle extremism


Home Secretary Amber Rudd will tell Silicon Valley’s top technology firms that they must do more to combat extremism or face new laws in the UK.

Rudd will meet with representatives of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and other companies at the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism in San Francisco.

She will place a focus on encryption tools in messaging apps such as Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp and Apple’s iMessage, which make it impossible to access the content without the user’s permission.

“We support its place in making sure that we have secure facilities in our daily lives,” she said.

“However, there is a problem in terms of the growth of end-to-end encryption. It’s a problem for the security services and for police who are not, under the normal way, under properly-warranted paths, able to access that information.

“We want [technology companies] to work more closely with us on end-to-end encryption, so that where there is particular need, where there is targeted need, under warrant, they share more information with us so that we can access it.”

Rudd also wants the Silicon Valley firms to share more metadata – the circumstances around a message conversation but not the content itself – with authorities.

The tech giants are expected to oppose these demands on the grounds of protecting privacy. They wrote in a joint statement that they will discuss ways to “substantially disrupt terrorists’ ability to use the internet in furthering their causes, while also respecting human rights”.

Speaking about the appearance of terror-related literature on services such as YouTube, she told the BBC: “[Technology companies] have to make sure the material terrorists want to put up, gets taken down. Or even better, doesn’t go up in the first place.

“What they have been saying to us is that, by using artificial intelligence, they’re beginning to make progress in that way.

“None of this material should be online. They need to take ownership over making sure it isn’t.

“It’s governments that need to urge them to really take action so that we don’t have to go down the road of legislation – and get them to do it on a voluntary but urgent basis.

“Legislation is always an alternative.”