Wednesday, 17 January, 2018

Tech giants face United Kingdom tax penalty should they fail to fight terrorism

A London evening newspaper stand displays their headline outside Paddington tube station in London after a terrorist incident was declared at Parsons Green subway station Friday Sept. 15 2017 "Ruthless profiteer" internet giants face tax raid unless they help in fight against terror, UK security minister warns
Patty Aguilar | 12 January, 2018, 23:25

The likes of Facebook and Google have been warned by the United Kingdom government that they face having a hefty tax bill, if they fail to do more to combat the rise of extremism on their platforms.

Talking about why rash measures on part of the government could undermine cyber security of the United Kingdom as a whole, Jonathan Evans, an ex MI5 chief who retired in 2013, said that while the use of encryption has hampered the ability of security agencies to access communications between terrorists, banning encryption altogether would also impact the cybersecurity of the society as a whole. I have to have more human surveillance. "It's costing hundreds of millions of pounds", said Wallace.

Wallace said: "If they [internet firms] continue to be less than co-operative, we should look at things like tax as a way of incentivising them or compensating for their inaction. That's costing millions", continues Wallace, "they can't get away with that and we should look at all options, including tax".

Wallace's boss, Home Secretary Amber Rudd, is already in a longstanding feud with Facebook over WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption, which has reportedly seen Facebook refuse point-blank to give the government backdoor access to the service.

"We've invested millions of pounds in people and technology to identify and remove terrorist content".

Youtube, which is owned by Google parent company Alphabet, has increased its "extremist-tackling" technology this year, which resulted in its algorithm removing content from journalists and conflict monitors.

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While internet companies have taken steps to tackle child abuse online, they "don't seem to be making the same effort" against extremism, Wallace said.

Facebook, Microsoft, YouTube, and Twitter came together to form the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism in June.

As part of the new forum, the companies said they would share best practices regarding "content detection and classification techniques using machine learning" and "define standard transparency reporting methods for terrorist content removals".

However, research by the United Kingdom government suggests that three quarters of ISIL propaganda is viewed within three hours of being uploaded to online platforms, reaching its target audience long before authorities could react.

Pressure on tech companies from the United Kingdom government has increased in 2017, after five terror attacks in London and Manchester left 36 people dead and hundreds more injured.

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