UK Government May Force Tech Companies to Use Online 'Extremism' Filter


UK Government May Force Tech Companies to Use Online 'Extremism' Filter

Home Secretary Amber Rudd told the BBC she would not rule out forcing technology companies to use it by law.

But she said: "There is still more to do, and I hope this new technology the Home Office has helped develop can support others to go further and faster". The software successfully detects 94 percent of extremist content, according to the government.

The British government has revealed a new tool it claims can automatically detect terrorist content online and block it from being viewed. This is versus the 36 hours or so which is apparently the average time it takes for tech firms to remove such content, which by then would have easily spread to hundreds, if not thousands of viewers.

Rudd told the BBC the tool demonstrated that the government's request for a stricter examination of extremist content was not an unreasonable one.

"This government has been taking the lead worldwide in making sure that vile terrorist content is stamped out", said Rudd on a visit to Silicon Valley to meet with tech companies.

The government said that while larger platforms such as Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. have the resources to detect such extremism, smaller platforms don't. There are tools out there that can do exactly what we're asking for.

Dr Marc Warner from ASI Data Science spoke to BuzzFeed News about the project, saying it is an AI algorithm, which works by "spotting subtle patterns in the extremist videos that distinguish them from normal content, from the rest of the internet". "For smaller companies, this could be ideal".

The company said it typically flagged 0.005% of non-IS video uploads.

The government also faces a challenge in predicting which platforms terrorists will turn to next. Home Office research found Daesh supporters published material on 400 unique platforms in 2017, including 145 previously unused platforms between July and December alone.

She discussed the new anti-terror tool on her visit during talks with internet service providers in the country as part of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, which was launched previous year in the aftermath of the UK Parliament attack in March 2017.

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