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article imageTheresa May vs Facebook and the level of regulation

By Tim Sandle     Jun 4, 2017 in Internet
London - Conservative Party leader Theresa May has entered into a dispute with social media providers in the wake of the latest terror attack in London. May has used the situation to call for greater governmental regulation of social media.
Conservative leader and current Prime Minister Theresa May has used the wake of the London Bridge terror attack to call for greater regulation of social media and companies like Google. The thrust of Mrs. May's argument is that regions of the Internet must be closed down because otherwise technology giants are providing "safe spaces" for terrorist ideology to flourish and for terrorist cells to communicate unhindered. Mrs May is quoted by The Independent as saying: "We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed. Yet that is precisely what the internet, and the big companies... provide."
British Prime Minister Theresa May ruled out any head-to-head debate with other party leaders ahead ...
British Prime Minister Theresa May ruled out any head-to-head debate with other party leaders ahead of the June 8 vote
Leon Neal, POOL/AFP
At the heart of May's proposal is to use the British government Home Office to push ahead with proposals to force companies to reduce the security of their products and services through “Technical Capability Notices” (TCNs). This would allow security agencies can use them to access a target’s communications. Another aspect is with seeking to limit the amount of end-to-end encryption in place, which the government thinks would reduce the opportunities for terrorist cells to communicate with each other.
May's request has been met with an adverse response from social media companies, who have warned that the tightening of regulation will simply not work. Reactions against what May and the Conservative Party are proposing have come from different quarters. The U.K.-based organisation that works to preserve digital rights and freedoms, the Open Rights Group has said that social media firms were not the problem and the proposed measures could make things worse. The organization states: "If successful, Theresa May could push these vile networks into even darker corners of the web, where they will be even harder to observe."
A man looks at the YouTube site on a laptop in Istanbul.
A man looks at the YouTube site on a laptop in Istanbul.
Ozan Kose, AFP/File
In addition, as the BBC notes, Twitter and Facebook representatives have said they are working hard to fight extremism and that no additional operating measures are needed.
Further criticism has also been voiced by Professor Peter Neumann, who is the director of the International Center For The Study Of Radicalization at King's College London. Professor Neumann has described May's criticism of Google, Facebook and Twitter as "intellectually lazy." He told The Daily Mail: "few people (are) radicalized exclusively online. Blaming social media platforms is politically convenient but intellectually lazy."
However, Theresa May reiterated her party's measures, which are in addition to the manifesto pledges for a proposed a levy on internet firms, as well as sanctions on firms for failing to remove illegal content.
For more on the Conservative Party, along with Labour and Liberal Democrat, policies for technololgy and science see the Digital Journal special "What the U.K. parties are saying about science and technology."
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