Home secretary Amber Rudd wants tech industry to "go further" in stopping terrorist content going online

Rebecca Smith
Rudd met with tech giants today to discuss what more could be done on stopping terrorist content
Rudd met with tech giants today to discuss what more could be done on stopping terrorist content (Source: Getty)

Home secretary Amber Rudd has said she wants tech giants to "go further" to stop terrorist content from going online, after a meeting she held with a host of senior executives from the likes of Google and Facebook.

The home secretary met with the technology firms to discuss what role they should have in helping to combat terrorism. She said it was "a useful discussion" and was "glad to see that progress has been made".

Read more: WhatsApp encryption is "completely unacceptable" warns home secretary

The tech firms said they shared the government's commitment to ensuring "terrorists do not have a voice online". Read their full response to the meeting here.

It followed comments from Rudd last week saying that encrypted messaging services like WhatsApp shouldn't be a "secret place" to hide.

The debate over authorities' access to communications was ignited again after it was reported that the Westminster attacker Khalid Masood used WhatsApp shortly before the tragedy.

"We need to make sure that organisations like WhatsApp, and there are plenty of others like that, don't provide a secret place for terrorist to communicate with each other," Rudd said after the attack.

At today's meeting, Rudd was keen to raise concerns over encryption, along with her focus on ramping up efforts to clamp down on terrorist material and propaganda online.

Read more: Google et al respond to Amber Rudd: Tech firms' letter in full

Rudd said of the meeting:

We focused on the issue of access to terrorist propaganda online and the very real and evolving threat it poses.

I said I wanted to see this tackled head-on and I welcome the commitment from the key players to set up a cross-industry forum that will help to do this.

In taking forward this work I’d like to see the industry to go further and faster in not only removing online terrorist content but stopping it going up in the first place.

I’d also like to see more support for smaller and emerging platforms to do this as well, so they can no longer be seen as an alternative shop floor by those who want to do us harm.

The encryption issue will be taken forward in further separate discussions.

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