Government calls on ISPs to block terrorists

The Home Secretary is preparing plans to crackdown on websites that promote extremism.

Government calls on ISPs to block terrorists

Jacqui Smith intends to meet with internet service providers to discuss blocking radical websites and materials. She will also be discussing the policing of chatrooms, which the government claims are being used to groom terrorists.

The government is increasingly concerned that the internet is being used as a recruitment tool for terrorists, and intends to implement a range of measures to make it a “no-go” area for those spreading radical messages or planning terrorist acts.

“Stopping people becoming or supporting terrorists is the major long-term challenge we face,” Smith is expected to tell ISPs in a meeting later today.

“We are already working closely with the communications industry to take action against paedophiles. I believe we should also take action against those who groom vulnerable people for the purposes of violent extremism.”

However ISPs are wary that the burden for enforcing the government’s new crackdown may land squarely on their shoulders.

“Sites set up using our service are very easy for us to remove,” Tiscali spokesperson Jodi Haskayne tells PC Pro. “That happens all the time, but if sites are hosted elsewhere it’s not within our capabilities. Blocking access to those sites – we wouldn’t do it. It’s not up to us to arbitrarily decide what sites people visit.”

Asked under what terms the government’s proposals would work, Haskayne responds, “we currently work with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) who run a black list of illegal sites, and when they make us aware of illegal material, we take it down. The legal versus illegal line is very easy for us to follow, and assuming the IWF would take up that extended remit and apply it, we could follow it.”

“We’ve got a model in place that works for our industry. Otherwise someone has to arbitrarily make a decision on what’s safe and what isn’t. We can’t be the censor, we need guidance.”

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