British minister Amber Rudd to push Silicon Valley on countering militants


Britain's Home Secretary Amber Rudd arrives in Downing Street for a cabinet meeting, on June 20, 2017.
Britain's Home Secretary Amber Rudd arrives in Downing Street for a cabinet meeting, on June 20, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - Britain's interior minister will use a visit to Silicon Valley on Tuesday (Aug 1) to ask the world's biggest social media and internet service providers to step up efforts to counter or remove content that incites militants.

After four militant attacks in Britain which killed 36 people this year, senior ministers have repeatedly demanded that internet companies do more to suppress extremist content and allow access to encrypted communications.

Prime Minister Theresa May, a former interior minister, proposed trying to regulate cyberspace after a deadly attack on London Bridge in June.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd will meet executives of social media and internet service providers in San Francisco at the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, whose partners are Facebook, Alphabet Inc's Google, Microsoft and Twitter, her ministry said in a statement.

The forum was set up by internet companies themselves to combine their efforts on removing militant content from their platforms.

"Terrorists and extremists have sought to misuse your platforms to spread their hateful messages. This Forum is a crucial way to start turning the tide," Rudd will say, according to a statement from the interior ministry.

"The responsibility for tackling this threat at every level lies with both governments and with industry. We have a shared interest: we want to protect our citizens and keep the free and open internet we all love."

A source familiar with Rudd's trip said she had scheduled a meeting with representatives of YouTube, Alphabet's video sharing platform.

Social media and internet giants say they want to help governments remove extremist or criminal material but that they also have to balance the demands of state security with the freedoms enshrined in democratic societies.

The companies have resisted demands from some governments to allow security services access to end-to-end encrypted messages.