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March 31, 2017updated 03 Apr 2017 4:49pm

Google, Facebook & Microsoft promise to tackle terrorist propaganda

Tech firms promise to improve terrorist online access following meeting with Amber Rudd.

By Hannah Williams

Some of the world’s largest tech companies Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter have promised to collaborate more in the future and work towards improving the amount of terrorist content online, following a meeting with UK’s Home Secretary, Amber Rudd.

The meeting was held by the Home Secretary to discuss the social media access terrorists have and also demand that tech companies work closer together to tackle the issue, following the recent terrorist attack in Westminster.

cyberIn a statement, Rudd said: “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.

“People who want to do us harm should not be able to use the internet or social media to do so.”

The tech execs then responded with a joint letter after the meeting with Rudd, which outlined three main methods to boost progress. These include developing better tools to automatically identify and remove terrorist propaganda, helping smaller tech companies learn from others about such methods and supporting ways to “promote alternative and counter-narratives.”

Read more: Why Amber Rudd’s WhatsApp encryption obsession will not stop terrorists

“We believe that companies, academics, civil society and government all have an interest and responsibility to respond to the danger of terrorist propaganda online- and as an industry we are committed to doing more.

“Companies increasingly share best practices with one another, and we have seen that sharing lessons learned across sectors can improve our collective response to this challenge.

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“Each of our companies also commits to urgently improve that collaboration, with appropriate transparency and civil society involvement,” wrote the tech execs in the joint letter from Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter.

The encryption debate is one that all companies should use as a sign of importance when analysing terrorist internet access.

Craig Mackey, acting head of Scotland Yard said that the Westminster attack was a wake-up call for tech companies over such issues and used chat service, WhatsApp has said it is “co-operating with law enforcement as they continue their investigations.”


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