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Technology firms have fought back over claims they are not doing enough to prevent extremist content, following the London terror attack.

Tech firms need to do more

Theresa May has asked that some areas of the internet be closed as there are spaces that terrorists are using to spread their ideology and hate.

However, tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Twitter have hit back by saying that they are doing their best to tackle extremist content – with Google spending hundreds of millions of pounds to tackle the this issue.

The latest terror attack, that started around London Bridge and killed seven people, has prompted the government to find ways to prevent this from happening again – with Theresa May pointing the finger at technology companies.

Karen Bradley, culture secretary, backs Theresa May and says that these companies need to do more to combat extremist content – the same way they did for removing indecent images of children.

Shared view

Google says it has invested heavily to prevent hate being spread on its platforms and continues to do so. Google also added that it shared the government’s view that terrorists should not have a voice online.

The other issue is that now instant messaging software such as WhatsApp encrypt every message sent and received, if a message is intercepted, it is unreadable – therefore protecting potential terrorists and criminals.

Ill-informed and lazy

The Open Rights Group, which campaigns for privacy and free speech online, believes that a combination of regulation introduced by government and knee-jerk reactions is ‘intellectually lazy’ and actually more damaging to the fight against terrorism.

The tech industry generally supports this view and argues that as a result, terrorists are moving to more surreptitious methods such as the encrypted messaging app, ‘Telegram’.

Security not privacy

However, Dr Julia Rushchenko, who does research at the Henry Jackson Centre for the Response to Radicalisation and Terrorism, says that more could be done to remove such content. She argues that tech companies focused too much on privacy, and not security.

It is clear that there are two sides to the argument, and perhaps tech companies and governments need to work a bit closer to ensure privacy and security is preserved, while also ensuring terrorists cannot express themselves online.

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