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

Elias Hubbard
January 13, 2018

Talking about why rash measures on part of the government could undermine cyber security of the United Kingdom as a whole, Jonathan Evans, an ex MI5 chief who retired in 2013, said that while the use of encryption has hampered the ability of security agencies to access communications between terrorists, banning encryption altogether would also impact the cybersecurity of the society as a whole. The newspaper said that any demand would take the form of a windfall tax similar to that imposed on privatized utilities by former Prime Minister Tony Blair's government in 1997.

Wallace justified the semi-proposal by saying that companies "will ruthlessly sell our details to loans and soft-porn companies but not give it to our democratically elected government".

The UK government is considering new taxes on large tech firms like Facebook and Google due to their alleged inaction against extremist groups.

Calling them "ruthless profiteers", Ben Wallace said the firms face a multi-million pound tax raid if they continued to refuse to take down extremist content as well as failing to block posts that include guides to bomb making. If Facebook and Google do not help to stop extremist content then they will be taxed. "If they [internet firms] continue to be less than co-operative, we should look at things like tax as a way of incentivising them or compensating for their inaction", he told The Sunday Times.

Wallace also criticised how social media companies have left the police and law enforcement with the burden of repairing the damage done by radicalised content online. "It's costing hundreds of millions of pounds", said Wallace. I have to have more human surveillance.

"We need people and we need feedback from trusted government sources and from our users to identify and remove some of the most problematic content out there", said Kent Walker. That's costing millions. They can't get away with that and we should look at all the options, including tax, ' he said.

In addition, he said that encrypted messaging services like Facebook's WhatsApp are making the lives of the security services more hard, as they have no access to this data.

Elsewhere in the interview, Wallace said the threat from extremism is especially pressing now because ISIS's defeat in the Middle East means it will now shift its focus to terror attacks on Western countries.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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