British Home Secretary Amber Rudd has told Report Focus messaging services like WhatsApp should give the security services access to their platforms in the fight against terror.
The Home Secretary comments come after it emerged that Westminster attacker, Khalid Masood, sent an encrypted message via the application, minutes before his London attack
Speaking to Sophy Ridge On Sunday, the Cabinet Minister also insisted social media companies must do more to deal with extremist material as part of the drive to combat terrorism.
Highlighting the “inadequate” efforts of tech firms to take down all terrorist content, The Home Secretary said they needed “to take responsibility for the fact that their platforms are being used by terrorists all around the world”.
She is due to soon meet with internet giants Google, Twitter, and Facebook later this week to discuss the issue, and has already warned: “They’re going to get a lot more than a ticking off.”
The Home Secretary did not rule out changing the law if needed, but said she would prefer the industry to take the lead in fighting this.
She said: “I believe that they are more likely to have the answers. They’re the ones who put together platforms and have the in-house expertise. They should be part of solution.”
She furthermore also argued the use of encrypted messaging services by terrorists was “completely unacceptable”.
She state that she “support end-to-end encryption; it has its role to play.”
But she added: “We also need a system whereby when the police have an investigation, where the security services have put forward a warrant signed by the Home Secretary, we can get that information when a terrorist is involved.
“It is absurd to have a situation where terrorists are talking to each other on formal platform and it can’t be accessed. I need to find a solution with them for that.”
In addition she also made clear that she: ” think we’re going to have to have much more pressure on them to act because I know that Amber Rudd wants to have another summit with them and another meeting with them. I’m sure that’s very good.
“But David Cameron had lots and lots of meetings with them that kind of went around these issues again and again.
“I think they have to act.”
The known social networks apps for communication
Although not as well-known as Google, Twitter and Facebook, there are concerns that apps such as Telegram, WordPress and Justpaste.it are being used by extremists to plot and publicise attacks.
:: WordPress – A blogging and website content management system, offering both hosted and self-hosted sites.
:: Justpaste.it – A service which allows users to upload text, images and video. It has 5m users around the world.
:: Telegram – An encrypted texting messaging service, similar to WhatsApp. The Berlin based app has 100m active monthly users and prides itself on its enhanced security. Not even Telegram staff can read messages sent on the system – just the sender and receiver.
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