Facebook, Twitter and Google are avoiding their responsibilities in the battle against ISIS and other terrorist groups deliberately, said the U.K. Home Affairs Committee. The comment from the British authority comes after a wave of terrorist attacks in the U.S. and Europe.
A “Star Wars”-type system needed
Lawmaker Keith Vaz, a member of the opposition Labour Party and head of the committee, said, “Huge corporations like Google, Facebook and Twitter, with their billion-dollar incomes, are consciously failing to tackle this threat and passing the buck by hiding behind their supranational legal status, despite knowing that their sites are being used by the instigators of terror.”
The failure of these corporations to tackle this threat has left some parts of the web unregulated, ungoverned and lawless, said Vaz. The report recommends that British police release a huge cyber-weapon defense force, similar to the “Star Wars” system that watches for a nuclear attack, to control the sites and remove sensitive information.
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It was shocking that “only a few hundred” employees monitor content at those sites, said the committee. The lawmakers also expressed repulsion that some sites are quite lax in reporting extremist content to law enforcement agencies.
The long-running debate between tech firms, which say they want to protect the privacy of their customers and free speech, and the government, which says it needs more access to data so it can tackle threats, has gotten more intense since the wave of attacks in the U.S. and Europe, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Google, Facebook and Twitter not doing enough?
The Home Affairs Committee of the U.K. Parliament includes a cross-party panel of lawmakers that oversees the Interior Ministry. Their report is the most recent British broadside fired at Silicon Valley, notes the WSJ. On Tuesday, Germany and France urged the European Union to propose rules that would force the operators of social networking services to assist authorities in decrypting personal communications on social media platforms like Apple’s iMessage, Facebook and WhatsApp, according to the WSJ.
Earlier this year, Facebook, Twitter and Google denied that they were lax in tackling threats and said they cooperate with law enforcement to eliminate extremist content. Last week, Twitter said it has suspended 360,000 terrorist-related accounts since mid-2015. Also Google said it motivates users to flag content and other users who are instigators of terror so that it can remove them.
In a statement, Simon Milner, Facebook U.K.’s director of policy, said terrorists and the support of terrorist activity are not allowed on the social network, and they deal robustly and swiftly with reports of terrorism-related content.