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Government’s terror watchdog blasts plans to ‘criminalise’ internet companies

1 min read

Theresa May's own counter-terrorism adviser has accused ministers of acting like the Chinese government with plans to fine tech companies not deemed to be helping combat extremism.

Max Hill QC, who was appointed independent reviewer of terrorism legislation in February, said ministers should strive to bring companies "onside" in the fight against terror.

“I struggle to see how it would help if our parliament were to criminalise tech company bosses who ‘don’t do enough’,” he told the Terrorism and Social Media conference in Swansea this weekend.

“How do we measure ‘enough’? What is the appropriate sanction? We do not live in China, where the internet simply goes dark for millions when government so decides.

“Our democratic society cannot be treated that way.”

Mr Hill said “ever greater liaison and co-operation between law enforcement and tech companies” was needed.

“Companies who make eye-watering sums of money from our everyday chatter need to be brought firmly onside, they do not need to be forced offside.”

Firms such as Google and Facebook have introduced a raft of new measures to combat the promotion of terrorist propaganda online following increased pressure as a result of recent attacks.

Theresa May has previously said Britain will act as a “leader” on internet regulation, while last month she joined forces with French president Emmanuel Macron, vowing to look in to greater “legal liability” on companies.


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