For immediate release | Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Taxpayers Should Not Bear the Cost of Online Extremist Content

Press Contact:

Media at CEP

(New York, NY) – Counter Extremism Project Executive Director David Ibsen today released the following statement regarding the U.K. Home Office financing the development of anti-ISIS software:

“The U.K. Home Office’s development of new technology to automatically detect ISIS propaganda prior to upload on any platform is a crucial step in the fight against online extremism. The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) commends the U.K. government’s pro-active approach, which unfortunately reflects the fact that tech firms remain unaccountable for their inadequate responses to noxious material that continues to proliferate on their websites and platforms.

“Following a spate of terrorist attacks in 2017, the U.K. government clearly needed to find its own solutions in the face of tech’s insufficient measures to curtail terrorist and extremist propaganda and activities online. This tool, developed by the U.K. Home Office and ASI Data Science, will be made available to all Internet platforms—an industry-wide technological approach long advocated by CEP.

“Unfortunately, it is concerning that the tech industry’s failure to act has compelled the U.K. government to rely on taxpayer funding, rather than the tech companies themselves, to develop technologies to counter this enormous threat. Tech firms—that are part of a multi-billion-dollar industry—should not pass these financial obligations to the general public. Tech must take responsibility for the content hosted and shared on their platforms and do more to protect its consumers—the public at large—from the real-life consequences of extremism online.”