United Kingdom unveils extremist content blocking tool

Dianna Christensen
February 15, 2018

While the social network says that it has made progress in the detection and removal of such content, the unveiling of a new government-backed system would seem to indicate that the United Kingdom government is unhappy with the speed at which things have progressed, or that it prefers the idea of being in control of the detection tool itself.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd told the BBC she would not rule out forcing technology companies to use it by law.

The technology works by analyzing video content during the upload process, preventing it from reaching the internet in the first place - a vast improvement on the average 36 hours it takes tech firms to remove extremist content, and an improvement still on the two-hour-limit the United Kingdom government demanded previous year.

ASI claims its proprietary software is able to detect the vast majority (94%) of Islamic State's activity online - with a reported accuracy score of 99.995%. Humans then have to assess the content and make a decision on removing it. "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", United Kingdom home secretary Amber Rudd said in reference to the new tool.

The Home Secretary and US Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen visited senior executives from leading venture capital firms, asking them to ensure the start-ups they invested in had taken appropriate anti-terrorist measures.

The manifesto also said they aim and force Internet companies into keep records on their customers' browsing histories and make conversations in encrypted messaging services such as WhatsApp accessible to authorities.

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The system is to be made available to smaller companies, as the government says that these are increasingly being targeted by extremists to publish propaganda.

Silicon Valley giants such as Facebook and Google are pouring their own resources into solving this problem, but this tool is at first meant to be used by small companies, and they may one day be forced to use it.

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, launched past year, brings together several governments including the U.S. and United Kingdom, and major internet firms like Facebook, Google, Twitter and others.

Separately, new Home Office analysis revealed that ISIS supporters used more than 400 unique online platforms to push out their poisonous material in 2017, highlighting the importance of technology that can be applied across different platforms.

However, the bigger challenge is predicting which parts of the internet that jihadis will use next.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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