Amber Rudd, the home secretary has announced that the counter-terrorism laws must be updated to address online radicalisation. From January to August of 2017 the Home Office stated 44,000 URL’s containing Islamic State propaganda were created and shared.
In new proposed plans people who repeatedly view content online could be jailed for up to 15 years.
The new penalties would also apply to terrorist who publish information about our police officers, armed forces or members of the intelligence services. Rudd stated “ There is currently a gap in the law around material which is viewed or streamed without being permanently downloaded”. Extremist material accessed online for criminal purposes such as video’s and web pages has become an increasingly common method.
Meanwhile Brussels has stepped up efforts to tackle illegal hate speech and terrorist content on social media following the latest terrorist attacks in the continent.
New guidelines to the commission has encouraged platforms to be more proactive and cooperative in finding such material, removing it and reporting it to the authorities, but does this go far enough. Brussels are reluctant to crack down with threats of fines and prosecution.
In September 2017 Theresa May called for internet companies to go “further and faster”, demanding they remove extremist content within two hours of posting. A staggering statistic from twitter also in September said that they suspended nearly 300,000 accounts linked to terrorism in the first half of 2017. Google’s YouTube and Facebook are both increasing use of artificial intelligence technology to improve detection and takedown rates of extremist material.