Former defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon, presenting the first Counter Terror Awards at the Security & Counter Terror Expo 18 called on tech industry giants to “help root out” terrorists who are using social media to spread extremism.
In his speech, “Tackling the Millennial Terrorist”, the Sevenoaks MP said the changing nature of terrorism meant digital companies have a duty to help “tackle the aggressors behind the algorithms and the enemies behind the encryption. These companies are hiding behind the pretence that they are not publishers: on the contrary, they have created huge ungoverned spaces in which extremism flourishes. It’s bad enough that some of them don’t pay proper taxes in the UK; what’s shocking is that they could be doing much more to help our security services forestall these deadly attacks.”
He argued that recent terror attacks show everyone is now a legitimate target, saying: “As terrorists adopt more low level methods, killing with knives and vans, the range of targets increases”.
“90 per cent of organised terrorism on the Internet takes place via social media”, he said, “and for these millennial terrorists communication is 90 per cent of their struggle. Facebook, Google and the rest cannot opt out of their responsibility”.
Sir Michael also praised the “brainpower of innovative British businesses” for their part in tackling the threat. He presented 10 companies and public sector organisations with Counter Terror awards.
You can read the full speech here.