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October 6, 2015

Police Chief blames social media for hampering terror probes

News: Mark Rowley says either they refuse to reveal potential information during investigations or threaten to tip off the suspects.

By CBR Staff Writer

A senior counter-terrorism police officer in the UK has blamed ‘irresponsible and uncooperative’ social media companies which are deliberately hamper terrorism investigations.

Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Mark Rowley has revealed that since former US spy contractor Edward Snowden revealed the true extent to which intelligence agencies could intercept online traffic, new technologies have been developed that block terrorism investigations.

Rowley blamed some social media companies by saying that they either refuse to reveal potential evidence or threaten to tip off the suspects about police inquiries.

Rowley said: "Our experience of social media and communications companies is of a very fragmented and highly variable level of cooperation, ranging from some who are very cooperative, those who are partially cooperative and those who are at the other end of the spectrum.

"Some refuse to assist. For some it is also a part of their strategy – they design their products in full recognition that they will be unable to help us because of the way they have designed them.

"And some simply undermine us by adopting a policy that if they supply data to us they will tell the subject that they have done that."

"From a policing perspective, any area which is no-go to police and intelligence agencies because we don’t have the powers or the technology or the ability to reach there is a space that terrorists and criminals can operate and is of massive concern,"

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Many of those companies have been found to generate ‘vast profits’ by increasing the number of online ‘blind spots’ for police and intelligence agencies and creating ‘safe havens’ for terrorists and criminals

The issue has been causing concern with the British police, Rowley revealed, claiming it to be a "growing Achilles’ heel" for the force.

Rowley was quoted by Reuters as saying: "We have a growing Achilles heel that, if it is not tackled, will slowly diminish our ability to keep the public safe.

"If we are glibly creating a safe operating environment for criminals and terrorists, we are going to regret it."

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