Mes­sage Encryp­tion is a Hur­dle for Fight Against Ter­ror­ism: Gov­ern­ment Official


Last month, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube initiated a Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) and now they’re holding their first workshop on Tuesday in San Francisco where representatives from the tech industry, government and NGOs will share thoughts on how to tackle terrorism online.

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Government officials are of the view that encryption is threatening their fight against online terrorism

United Kingdom Home Secretary and MP Amber Rudd is one of the government officials — among others from USA,  Australia, Canada, European Union and United Nations — joining the workshop.

In a recent interview, Rudd told BBC that tech companies need to step up their efforts to tackle the spread of terrorist content online and also mentioned that encryption is a hurdle when it comes to fighting the issue of terrorism to the optimum.

Talking to BBC, Amber Rudd said, “There is a problem in terms of the growth of end-to-end encryption. It’s a problem for the security services and for police who are not, under the normal way, under properly warranted paths, able to access that information.”

She went on to say that the tech companies and government need to work together to so as to make it possible for them to share information about a certain user in case a warrant is issued.

“Our mission is to substantially disrupt terrorists’ ability to use the internet in furthering their causes, while also respecting human rights. This disruption includes addressing the promotion of terrorism, dissemination of propaganda, and the exploitation of real-world terrorist events through online platforms,” said Facebook announcing GIFCT’s first workshop event.

Amber Rudd
UK Home Secretary and MP Amber Rudd | Source: deccgovuk/Flickr

The companies are currently looking for ideas to eradicate the growing menace of terrorist and extremist content online, Rudd also pointed out that there needs to be better censorship over what goes up on the internet.

While MP Rudd seems more concerned about the ‘security’ of the citizenry from terrorist and its propaganda, organisations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation are concerned about how such measures will affect privacy as well as free speech.

Snap Inc. and have also joined the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism and will be adding to the database of flagged hashes with the other participating tech companies.

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Bike enthusiast, traveller, ManUtd follower, army brat, word-smith; Delhi University, Asian College of Journalism, Cardiff University alumnus; a journalist breathing tech these days.