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As the threat from terrorists evolves, so must our cooperation, said Prime Minister Theresa May in a speech to the UN General Assembly in New York on September 20.
She said: “The tech companies have made significant progress on this issue, but we need to go further and faster to reduce the time it takes to reduce terrorist content online, and to increase significantly their efforts to stop it being uploaded in the first place. This is a major step in reclaiming the internet from those who would use it to do us harm. But ultimately, it is not just the terrorists themselves who we need to defeat, it is the extremist ideologies that fuel them. It is the ideologies that preach hatred, so division and undermine our common humanity. We must be far more robust in identifying these ideologies and defeating them across all parts of our societies.
“As I said in the aftermath of the attack on London Bridge this summer, we have to face the fact that this will require some difficult conversations. We all need to come together, to take on this extremism that lives among us, and to nurture the common values that must ultimately win out. These are the values of this United Nations. And yet, despite our best efforts, we as nations and as a United Nations have not found the ways or the means to truly take on this threat.” For the speech in full visit https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/theresa-mays-speech-to-the-un-general-assembly-2017.
Mark James – Security Specialist at ESET said: “This subject is one of those which should be easy to resolve; advanced automated intelligence should be able to determine if content is suitable and quarantine if necessary. The systems seem fairly good at identifying certain content already, but more needs to be done. Currently, anyone, anywhere is able to watch and learn about anything and that includes terrorism. This content needs to be managed and removed as soon as its posted- if it’s not possible to stop it from being posted in the first place. The internet is a wonderful place and we can all learn great and wonderful things from it- but as with most things there is also a dark side. Sadly, it seems easier to police the good better than the bad.”
Lee Munson- Security Researcher at Comparitech said: “The concern, however, is the stance taken by Theresa May and her cabinet on encryption. While there are a minority of cases in which the security services may have a legitimate need to break or circumvent encryption – in order to aid the detection and prosecution of terrorism – removing the ability to use it effectively will irrevocably hurt everyone. In a Western democracy, individual citizens have the right to a private life and being able to communicate securely through WhatsApp and other services is part and parcel of that.
“Businesses, too, often have a need to communicate securely as part of their day to day operation, be they sharing intellectual property or other sensitive data. Should the UK government ever succeed in banning or weakening encryption it will cause the majority of its citizens to give up all of their privacy in return for a minimal amount of extra security, especially given the fact that the security services are not sufficiently staffed to monitor every domestic communication anyway.”