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Home Office steps up fight against terror content with new technology

The Home Office steps up efforts to tackle online extremist content by launching new technology to help protect users.

By April Slattery

After months of Theresa May insisting more must be done to tackle online extremist content, the Home Office has announced new technology that will do just that.

The Home Office has announced the development of new technology that will automatically detect terrorist content on any online platforms, in partnership with ASI Data Science.  Tests have been run on the new tool, finding that it can automatically detect 94% of Daesh propaganda with 99.995% accuracy.

In a statement, the Home Office has said: “It has an extremely high degree of accuracy, for instance, if it analyses one million randomly selected videos, only 50 would require additional human review. It is not specific to one platform so can be used to support the detection of terrorist propaganda across a range of video-streaming and download sites in real-time.”

Previous research from the Home Office has revealed that the majority of links to Daesh propaganda are removed within two hours of uploading, with a third removed within the first hour. The technology that has now been developed could improve this to remove content before it has even been uploaded.

Home Office steps up fight against terror content with new technology

The new technology can remove content before it even reaches the internet.

The technology uses advanced machine learning to analyse the audio and visuals of a video to determine whether it could be Daesh propaganda. The tool can be used by any platform and integrated into the upload process, which will mean the majority of video propaganda will be stopped before it even reaches the internet – doing just what May requested to be done.

Smaller companies, who may not have facilities to develop their own technology, will be able to share the methodology behind the technology to tackle extremist content on their sites.

“Many of the major tech companies have developed technology specific to their own platforms and have publicly reported on the difference this is making in their fight against terrorist content. Smaller platforms, however, are increasingly targeted by Daesh and its supporters and they often do not have the same level of resources to develop technology,” the Home Office said.

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Amber Rudd, the new technology Home Secretary, welcomed the technology and said: “Over the last year we have been engaging with internet companies to make sure that their platforms are not being abused by terrorists and their supporters.

“I have been impressed with their work so far, although 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. We know that automatic technology like this, can heavily disrupt the terrorists’ actions, as well as prevent people from ever being exposed to these horrific images.”

The technology announcement from the Home Office comes as Rudd travels to Silicon Valley, to meet with main communication service providers to discuss tackling the online content. On her visit, the Home Secretary is expected to discuss the new model and find out what other companies are doing to develop innovative solutions to tackle such extremist content.

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