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Saturday, February 11, 2012

British Parliament Asked ISPs To Clamp Down On Extremism

MPs have demanded that ISPs do more to clamp down on violent extremist material helping to promote a surge in Internet radicalization. It turned out that the Home Affairs Select Committee found that the web is the predominant breeding ground for extremist activity, representing more of a risk than prisons or universities.

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That’s why the Parliament is now demanding that Internet service providers should be actively designing codes of practice in order to help policing material which could be regarded as promoting violent extremist activity. Nevertheless, the definition is quite loose: the authorities describe extremism along with the common suspects as “vocal or active opposition to fundamental national values”. They insist that more resources should be directed to those threats and to “preventing radicalization through the web and in private spaces.

The committee admitted that although in almost all cases “extremist activity” would necessitate face to face contact, the web still played an important role in allowing that radicalization to take place. That’s why the Parliament has told Internet service providers that they should do more to filter violent content from the Internet.

In other words, MPs want the entertainment industry to suggest its own self-regulatory guidelines. Meanwhile, everyone can feel the tension running high over greater powers to filter content, especially with the ACTA coverage on the Internet. The Parliament is adamant that heightened caution should be maintained over the terrorist threat.

YouTube was criticized for allowing extremist material to be uploaded. The streaming service responded with a flagging system, but admitted that there were many difficulties in policing huge amounts of information which was uploaded every day.

The industry observers agree that putting such a responsibility on broadband providers would cause a considerable change in the role of the organizations involved, which may cause controversy in deciding which material can be deemed unacceptable. In addition, there are still a number of arguments about free speech, particularly with the government's loosely defined notions of extremism. The only thing the ISPs and the authorities agree upon is that handling extremism effectively (without compromising human rights) can appear quite a delicate issue.

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