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Internet Services Providers’ Association fires back at GCHQ director for terrorist comments

The Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA) has responded to an article about the threats presented by terrorists and the Internet.

Earlier this week, new Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) head Robert Hannigan wrote an article claiming ISPs are “in denial” about the threats presented by groups such as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis).

However, ISPA claims that Hannigan’s opinion that the Internet acts as a “command and control centre for terrorists” is “ill-judged.”

According to the organisation, the potential for the Internet to be misused is outweighed by its potential to do good in the world.

“The Internet has opened amazing opportunities for communication and business and transformed how we live our day-to-day lives,” ISPA claimed.

“To mischaracterise it as a tool for terrorists is short-sighted and does not take into account the ability to, for example, challenge extremism through a counter-narrative.

“Internet companies take their responsibilities seriously and have and will work with authorities to tackle unlawful activity,” it added.

“An increase in public trust is needed”

The organisation also noted that the government and Cabinet Office are bringing in new, stronger encryption services to allow for more secure information sharing and a boost in public confidence.

ISPA claims that the protection of the Internet as a positive place depends on striking a balance between security and the right to privacy.

“Public trust and confidence in online services is of fundamental importance. Ultimately, the public will be the arbiters of where the line should be drawn between privacy security,” it said.

“For this to happen, an honest and frank debate is required based on the full facts and the opinion piece from GCHQ falls short of this,” the organisation added.