Security Minister to Social Media: "Fight Extremism or Face Tax Penalties"

Comfortably ruthless

The UK wants to hit Google, Facebook, and other tech companies with tax fines if they fail to take action against extremism.

Wallace said that inaction from internet giants means the cost of tackling terror content is "heaped on law enforcement agencies" - and the state should be able to recoup that in some way.

The government is also spending vast sums on counter-terrorism operations as well as on additional human surveillance to track down radicals and their followers.

In an interview with The Sunday Times newspaper, Wallace said that law enforcement and security services were being forced to spend hundreds of millions of pounds extra to keep Britain safe because of what he characterised as an insufficient response from the tech sector.

Wallace also noted that despite these companies' determination to grapple with child abuse online, they "don't seem to be making the same effort" against extremism. "That's costing millions", continues Wallace, "they can't get away with that and we should look at all options, including tax".

'We should stop pretending that because they [social media firms like Google and Facebook] sit on beanbags in T-shirts they are not ruthless profiteers.

"We've invested millions of pounds in people and technology to identify and remove terrorist content".

"But this is an ongoing battle and we must continue to fight it together, indeed our CEO recently told our investors that in 2018 we will continue to put the safety of our community before profits". YouTube said it was a complex problem and was a challenging task for them to finish it so quickly.

Youtube, which is owned by Google parent company Alphabet, has increased its "extremist-tackling" technology this year, which resulted in its algorithm removing content from journalists and conflict monitors.

Wallace said companies' refusal to give security services access to encrypted data is "turning the internet into an anarchic violent space", and called on them to "change their behaviour and start delivering".

However, research by the United Kingdom government suggests that three quarters of ISIL propaganda is viewed within three hours of being uploaded to online platforms, reaching its target audience long before authorities could react. That is for what he says is a failure to address the danger of the radicalization of people online.

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