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Home office wants ISPs to do more against Cyber terrorism

The Home Secretary (opens in new tab), Jacqui Smith, has vowed to step up the UK government's fight against websites which promoted terrorism by enrolling European ISPs into the fight.

Internet Service Providers will be asked to police radical websites and chat rooms and remove any dangerous or illegal material under plans announced by Ms Smith during a speech at the International Centre for Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, in central London.

“We are already working closely with the communications industry to take action against paedophiles. I believe we should also take action against those who groom vulnerable people for the purposes of violent extremism. Where there is illegal material on the net, I want it removed," Smith said.

However, unlike pedophilia, which is unilaterally condemned by all, what amounts to extremism or incitation to commit terrorism acts remain to be clearly defined.

As the director of the Cyber Rights (opens in new tab) organisation and Leeds University Law lecturer, Yaman Akdeniz puts it, “The difficulty is where you draw the line. When does speech become extreme or for that matter racist?”

It would also prove to be prohibitively expensive and technologically challenging to track and monitor supposedly extremist Internet websites.

Désiré Athow
Contributor

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.