back to article After London attack, UK gov lays into Facebook, Google for not killing extremist terror pages

In the wake of a terror attack in the heart of London this week that left five dead, the UK government has turned its ire onto online companies – including Google and Facebook – for not doing enough to remove extremist webpages and other content from their services. The two online giants "can and must do more," said the Prime …

  1. Kaltern

    Letter to Google.

    Dear Google.

    We, the Government, have decided that, while the Internet is a very useful Thing, it is sadly being misused by a certain group of people.

    Therefore, we must insist you remove all pages involving Terrorism. Anything that could be linked to Terrorism. And anything Pornographic, as that's probably linked to Terrorism.

    We expect all these pages to be removed next week.

    Thank you.

    UK Government.

    1. Blofeld's Cat
      Childcatcher

      Re: Letter to Google.

      PS While you're doing that don't forget to take down anything relating to cars as they are clearly being used for terrorist purposes. Although, now I think about it, we do make a lot of money taxing vehicles and fuel, so you can leave up any that are not terrorist related - and don't mention Top Gear.

      Just to be on the safe side you'd better take down anything related to driving schools as well, as they could be used to train potential terrorists ... Oh and any maps that have roads on them, as they could be useful in planning an attack.

      Better scrub anything that relates to religion and politics as well. Terrorists use them to justify their actions, although I suppose some religious and political stuff is OK ... but no bad stuff or any pages that mention 45 minute claims.

      Actually this is getting very complicated isn't it - look we'll just send you a list of stuff we like and you can list that instead.

      This is just between ourselves, by the way, so don't tell anyone else. If you've any questions just give us a call at the Department of Pandemonium, and we'll send someone round to explain it to you.

      1. Smooth Newt
        Holmes

        Re: Letter to Google.

        But the fact that the most senior officials in the UK government have made a point of publicly criticizing social media companies just a day after such an attack does not bode well.

        They have to blame someone other than themselves. I doubt ISIS propaganda would fall on such fertile ground if it were not for UK foreign policy over the last few years, or if successive British governments had not worked so diligently to widen the gulf between the 'haves' and 'have nots'.

    2. Doctor_Wibble
      Black Helicopters

      And ban Dad's old school chemistry books too

      These were from the olden days when the organic chemistry book would cover a lot more than just the immediate syllabus but also some of the more difficult stuff for the next level up.

      This advanced knowledge must now surely be kept under close guard and only those sworn to secrecy should be permitted access, and their identities would need to be closely guarded (and even from one another) for safety's sake.

      We can call them 'the enlightened ones' or maybe some Latin-origin version of that to reflect their importance and the possibility that we can go back to printing books in Latin because that was a great way of ensuring only the right sort of people had the knowledge and absolutely nothing to do with keeping the peasants under control.

      TLDR: This is the Knowledge Economy, be economical with who gets the knowledge.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And ban Dad's old school chemistry books too

        It was a bit of a rite of passage in Chemistry to appear on a Monday morning with singed hair and eyebrows. The Chemistry sets we would get given as a present were notorious for containing some {cough, cough} items that could be made to go bang.

        We were always making up gunpowder (after the stocks obtained in November had been exhausted).

        I even made a small cannon in Metalwork out if some 'gunmetal'. It could demolish a brick at 10 yards with a 1/2in BB as the projectile.

        This was circa 1967... Doesn't time fly. 50 years...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Letter to Google.

      I think they are trying to deflect attention from this particular terrorist's violent past and arrests. But the fact is: if this attack could have been prevented it would have been through police and government action - the warning signs were there.

  2. tfewster Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Distraction tactics - attack is the best form of defence

    The security forces knew about this guy, but apparently we shouldn't blame them. Apparently he was a loner (so why have others been arrested?). And apparently the security forces can't monitor t'interwebs and request takedowns, so GooBook will have to work out how to spot this stuff.

    Also, they're conveniently forgetting that GooBook are global. Your terrorist is my Freedom Fighter. Put up a Great Firewall if you don't like the outside world.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Distraction tactics - attack is the best form of defence

      "Your terrorist is my Freedom Fighter."

      I notice you have a down vote, probably for this line. It's a line that's true, but totally misunderstood by others on the internet.

      This sort of shit, blowing up people, mowing people down in cars because of a religion didn't exist 15 years ago. But since 9/11 all we've had is countless wars. Invaded Afghanistan on a whim, invaded Iraq for oil under the guise of terrorism. It was said at the time that this would cause problems in the west. And it has. But it was ignored. For what reason, well draw your own conclusion.

      The media doesn't help, because they know it sells papers or drives traffic to publish a story that gets you upset, gets you angry, but more importantly makes you afraid. The reality now that you could be murdered tomorrow by some terrorist fucking thick mental idiot resonates, you want all the information you can get to prevent you being a victim. There is some "murder porn" element to it too, a need to revel in the misery of others.

      Plus, the media and Government like to point at someone who shouts some support of ISIS/ISL/A.N.Other Terrorist Organisation immediately means it's the act of that group. Bullshit. If I run on to the pitch at Wembley during the FA Cup final and kick a ball in the back of Arsenal's net, it doesn't mean I've scored a goal for Man Utd. Those organisations want this labelling by the authorities to happen because it gives them credit. It legitimises what they do. It means they win by making your child who watches the 6pm news wet the bed from fear because of that link.

      Fact is it's been 13 years since the last mass murder of people in the UK, and 5 are now dead. You have more chance of winning the lottery than being murdered by one of these scumbags. But people won't think like that. They'll see a fella with a beard, someone with a thick asian accent and a rucksack and think "Shit he's a terrorist I'm going to be murdered". The same shit happened to my parents in the 70's when the IRA were bombing pubs. The moment you opened your mouth and an irish accent came out you were immediately a terrorist with a penchant for plastic explosives.

      Don't let the fear of something that might happen affect how you do things. Don't let the bastards drag you down - both these wankers murdering people and our own Government. Neither group want the best for you. They want to make you suffer.

      But we won't let them. I know damn well neither of those bastards will make me suffer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Distraction tactics - attack is the best form of defence

        @wolfetone,

        "This sort of shit, blowing up people, mowing people down in cars because of a religion didn't exist 15 years ago."

        Yes it did. go and expand your history. Try to look further back than your own adolescence. In fact, try looking back over the past 4,000 years of history.

        1. David Webb

          Re: Distraction tactics - attack is the best form of defence

          Yes it did. go and expand your history. Try to look further back than your own adolescence.

          I looked back only 15 years ago and found out that in the UK people were being blown up due to religion, this was (in part) funded by Irish-Americans, but after the Americans got hit with a major terrorist attack on their own soil it became apparent that funding terrorists isn't actually a good thing.

          Before 9/11 your typical IRA supporting Irish-American would happily state (s)he paid money to the IRA, after 9/11 that same person would deny ever paying for or supporting terrorism in any way, shape or form.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Distraction tactics - attack is the best form of defence

            'Before 9/11 your typical IRA supporting Irish-American would happily state (s)he paid money to the IRA..

            As an asides, there was a classic 'Plastic Paddy' website out there where eventually one of these characters you describe here actually did a bit of digging into his 'Oirish ancestry', he discovered his ancestors were Ulster Scots...let's just say the words 'sea change' then applied. (A quick google, I can't spot the site, it was approx 10 years ago that I came across it, so I'd have to dig out an old backup tape and see if I can find the URL in my bookmarks and see if archive.org has a copy of his site)

            I know another example where someone of the ilk you describe took the fact that one of 'his ancestors' had been in an Irish regiment in WW1 as an excuse to have the tricolour and posters of Bobby Sands et al plastered all over his walls, imagine his face when a relative doing a bit of genealogical research found out that said 'Irish ancestor' was actually from the Channel Isles and had enlisted in Ireland as it happened to be the country he could get easy transport (fishing boat) to at the time.

            I suppose these demonstrate the twin perils (to the rest of us) of ignorance and having a romantic/fanatical mindset.

        2. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: Distraction tactics - attack is the best form of defence

          Try to look further back than your own adolescence. In fact, try looking back over the past 4,000 years of history.
          Some of us have and it's incredibly rare to be killed by a terrorist. The big killers, particularly over the last 100 years have been governments executing their own citizens. The ratio is well over 1000:1.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Distraction tactics - attack is the best form of defence

            " it's incredibly rare to be killed by a terrorist."

            Exactly. Remember that people can die due to being run over by a vehicle which wasn't driven by a terrorist. e.g. Glasgow 2014, Bin lorry driver has heart attack, 6 killed, 15 injured.

            Or people can die due to aircraft accidentally hitting them: Glasgow (again) 2013, police helicopter comes down on nightclub, 6 dead on the ground, 32 in hospital.

            So London is clearly still safer than Glasgow.

            Please can we keep some perspective. Compared to what happened in the North of Ireland this whole 'so-called Islamist' stuff is pretty low key, obviously terrible for those involved, but then so is losing a loved one in a motorway pile-up. The Security Services are doing a pretty good job with the tools they already have, so let them get on with it, and not destroy the fundamental freedoms (privacy etc) that are core to our society in a vain attempt to stop every nutter.

          2. Commswonk Silver badge

            Re: Distraction tactics - attack is the best form of defence

            @Pompous Git: "The big killers, particularly over the last 100 years have been governments executing their own citizens. The ratio is well over 1000:1."

            Do you mean "statutory executions" or something else? AFAIK the UK Government does not pick people at random and execute them; terrorists do. Where people are executed (or were in the case of the UK) it was as a consequence of being found guilty of an offence for which execution was the specified penalty. (OK; there have been miscarriages of justice where innocent people have been executed, which is possibly one of the reasons that other sentences now apply.)

            Other governments (no names no pack drill) may have been rather less discriminating in those they select for execution but to lump those together with (for example) the UK is either careless, mischievous, or perhaps deliberately misleading. The article was about a stance taken by the UK Government, and no other. Could you perhaps clarify your figures by providing details of (a) statutory executions, (b) "random" executions, and (c) killings by terrorists. The add (d): serious injuries caused by terrorist action.

            There seems to be a growing body of opinion that Google, Facebook and the like are behaving as though they see themselves as being beyond the reach of national laws and anything that serves to remind them that they aren't is OK with me.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Distraction tactics - attack is the best form of defence

              "There seems to be a growing body of opinion that Google, Facebook and the like are behaving as though they see themselves as being beyond the reach of national laws and anything that serves to remind them that they aren't is OK with me."

              That, to me, seems to be an excellent summary of what this whole topic is all about. It's not about censorship and it's not specifically about slow takedowns or even adverts (and their income) being generated on ihadi content. It's primarily about big international companies in general, but US "webby" companies in particular, not obeying the local laws. Adverts appearing on "inappropriate" content is just the tip of the iceberg and possibly the event that starts the ball rolling properly.

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "more chance of winning the lottery than being murdered by one of these scumbags. "

        Exactly.

        And how many people here know someone who have actually won the UK Lottery?

        I'll note 2 things.

        "Sad middle aged failure wants to make a name for himself" isn't nearly as a dramatic headline as

        "Terrorist slaughters 24 in terror attack."

        And BTW IIRC in London police routinely carry tasers, pepper spray and telescopic batons. Yet this officer is killed by a man with a man stabbing him with, what a 6 inch blade before man is shot by armed officer who happens to be close by.

        How very inconvenient for the purposes of interrogating him.

        You know, how actual police work gets done.

        1. Nick Kew Silver badge

          @ John Smith 19

          "Sad middle aged failure wants to make a name for himself"

          Speaking as a fellow sad middle aged failure ...

          There are a lot of us out there. There's even a name for Silly Gestures at our time of life: the "Mid-life crisis".

          Fortunately most of us are not thugs with a history of violence. Nor do we have the psychosis described in the biblical "road to Damascus" story, and that probably led to this nutter's religious conversion.

          1. Syntax Error

            Re: @ John Smith 19

            And we passed our 11+.

          2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Unhappy

            "Speaking as a fellow sad middle aged failure ..."

            With one important difference.

            His day is done. He killed fewer people than British road do on a daily basis and I can't even remember his name, although no doubt the ISIS PR machine will call him a hero.

            If his actions question wheather you have done done all with your life that you could have maybe you should do more with it.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: "more chance of winning the lottery than being murdered by one of these scumbags. "

          "And how many people here know someone who have actually won the UK Lottery?"

          Me! Ok, indirectly in that it was my friends brother-in-law, and yes, it was a big jackpot, big enough that all the close family got their mortgages paid off out of the "small change". On the other hand, I don't personally know anyone either 1st or 2nd hand who was directly affected by a terrorist attack.

        3. Commswonk Silver badge

          Re: "more chance of winning the lottery than being murdered by one of these scumbags. "

          @ John Smith 19:

          And BTW IIRC in London police routinely carry tasers, pepper spray and telescopic batons. Yet this officer is killed by a man with a man stabbing him with, what a 6 inch blade before man is shot by armed officer who happens to be close by.

          Partially true.The not true bit is the fact that the Officers on duty at Westminster "guarding" the Houses of Parliament are not thus equipped. As I understand it the way they are kitted out is - in part at any rate - determined by MPs and Parliamentary Security Staff, not by the hierarchy of the MPS; it is arguable that their presence is more ceremonial than anything else.

          In any case the speed at which this attack took place may have made the effective use of any of the listed weaponry somewhat uncertain.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Distraction tactics - attack is the best form of defence

        "This sort of shit, blowing up people, mowing people down in cars because of a religion didn't exist 15 years ago."

        I acknowledge your point but I see an incredible lack of understanding in this statement. Religion has not changed in the last 15 years. Its incredibly disingenuous to pretend religion is "causing" this when we have bombed and destroyed six separate countries in the name of War on Terror/security in the last 15 years. If there was anything religious about whats happening, this problem would stretch back far longer than 2001. If anything, terrorism is caused by overthrowing foreign governments/leaders. Politicians will never acknowledge this because blaming religion keeps their roles well hidden.

        It should be acknowledged that ISIS are a different breed. Unlike the other terror groups, ISIS seem a lot more obsessed with religion than other groups that were focused on power and politics. But for some odd reason they have killed far more Muslims than anyone else. They are psychopaths. There is literally no other way to describe this group. Europe has suffered but nowhere near as much as Middle East.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Distraction tactics - attack is the best form of defence

          "But for some odd reason they have killed far more Muslims than anyone else."

          Not really all that odd when you consider that most religions have had internal wars over which colour the hats should be. ISIS are no different in that respect, other Muslims who don't agree with every tenet espoused by ISIS are as much the enemy as everyone else in the world.

          "They are psychopaths."

          There's no argument there!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Distraction tactics - attack is the best form of defence

      The security forces knew about this guy

      Well, they know about everyone who has a birth certificate, NI number, driver's license, criminal record and a passport. What of it?

      but apparently we shouldn't blame them.

      If you had kept tabs on how many court cases and convictions there have been of people planning things like this, and indeed noted the rarity of actual attacks, you'd realise that actually the security types are pretty good at what they do.

      And apparently the security forces can't monitor t'interwebs and request takedowns, so GooBook will have to work out how to spot this stuff.

      Well no, since there's billions of users, trillions of online items, and only a few thousand security types. Even if they could spend all day trawling the web, and even if Facebook did let them see inside every private group, etc. they'd never cover any more than a small fraction of it all.

      Google and Facebook do have to spot this stuff. They rely too much on being able to say "it's not us that put it there". Well, it's their hard drives, and it's up to them whether or not they let anyone else in the world put dodgy shit on them anonymously. It's a lazy attitude to take, and one born out of commercial greed. Worse, and this is what really seems to have been the tipping point, their response time to notifications about illegal content is unacceptably slow. So slow that many suspect that it is a deliberate policy on their part to not be seen to take any responsibility for content whatsoever even if notified. The fact that they continue to profit from it is what makes it morally reprehensible.

      Being free and none-too-fussy about who really lies behind a user account might be a great way to grow fast, but it's naive of them to think that they can run their businesses this way without attracting moral or legal responsibility somewhere down the line. In contrast, something like the old paid-for Compuserve model has many advantages; you know exactly who your customers are (the membership fee is drawn from a customer's credit card / direct debit / etc), and your customers know that ultimately they cannot hide their identity from enquiring policemen. Being traceable is probably the biggest deterrent to anyone thinking of posting some illegal material.

      Put up a Great Firewall if you don't like the outside world.

      No need. If Google and Facebook lose their revenue stream in Europe, they may as well stop offering the services. Twatter don't make any money anyway. Would that cause chaos in Europe? Perhaps for a while. Is it an opportunity for a domestic equivalent to finally get onto the playing field? Certainly.

      Rapid Consequences?

      Commercially this is a potential problem, for Google especially. They're under pressure from European legislators over their dominance of the Android platform. Cue a large fine. They've already copped a big fine in Europe for (Ii think) their search monopoly, they are (or were) under criminal investigation in France for tax evasion (they couldn't even play the Double Irish system properly), some of their shareholders were trying to sue them for corporate mismanagement of their business in Europe, That's before one starts counting the enormous sum of money they've wasted on self driving cars that aren't really. And now they've suddenly copping some pretty bad press over their profiting from extremist material and losing large clients fast. And that's before European governments go after their revenue stream by making their advertising customers criminally responsible for where their advertising money ends up (today's moral stance being taken by customers could become tomorrow's addition to laws on terrorist funding).

      This is a pretty long list of problems for the company, and it can't be too long before some shareholder who really matters starts asking serious questions of the board like, "WTF is going on here guys?". For a company whose motto used to be "Don't be evil", they're pretty far from lilly-white goodness.

      1. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: Distraction tactics - attack is the best form of defence

        Dominance of the Android platform - a product for which they do not charge.

        Search monopoly - a service for which they do not charge users.

        Tax evasion - maybe; given the complexity of overlapping and competing tax code, such things sometimes are in considerable doubt and often go to litigation.

        Profiting from extremist material - largely a commercial argument.

        Criminalizing advertising? Really?

        Perhaps Google would be wise to eliminate all service to the EU for a while and see who, if anyone, fills behind them, and who picks up the tab for the services while meeting the constraints. I do not think they will do so until the cost of doing business there exceeds the potential income. But if it does so for Google it is reasonable to suppose the same will be true for any other potential provider. It also seems reasonable to think the same would apply, more or less to Facebook and Twitter.

        1. JimC Silver badge

          Re: a product for which they do not charge.

          A tactic which is very closely allied to that which, in other circumstances, eg cheap chinese steel, is known as dumping and is considered an unfair trade practice. Google are extremely good at extinguishing competitors by denying them a revenue stream. Google, Facebook etc simply cannot afford to eliminate services to the EU, because that would permit real competitors to arise.

          1. tiggity Silver badge

            Re: a product for which they do not charge.

            Google Search has gone downhill a lot over the past few years, no sign of any competitors stepping in to do a significantly better job though (I periodically compare quite a few search engines just in case it is worth rejigging my search strategies)

        2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          @Tom Dial

          "Search monopoly - a service for which they do not charge users."

          They charge the advertisers plenty for knowing about what you do.

          What Google does (to users) is complementary.

          It's not free.

          Either you don't know this or it's in your interest to pretend you don't know this.

          1. wolfetone Silver badge

            Re: @Tom Dial

            Interesting today to see Amber Fudd say that "WhatsApp can't be a hiding place for terrorists" and that the security services "need access to encrypted information".

            Anyone else see where this is going?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Distraction tactics - attack is the best form of defence

      Your terrorist is my Freedom Fighter.

      Theoretically correct. Same as "The enemy of my enemy is my friend".

      The issue with this idea is that you end up supporting a guy who buys 50+ spare trainer aircraft, gets the loaded with explosives and the only thing preventing him from using them for a suicide bomb mass run is that he has no pilots. He after that has to be taken out resulting in years of civil war and bloodshed.

      Sound far fetched? I suggest looking up "Chechen Republic Air Force" - it is from a period predating Google Earth, but you can find the satellite photos if you search long enough. That is the real reason why the first Chechen war started by the way - Grozny was planned as a side show, the objective was take this out and make Hankala airbase unusable. Going back to the "Your terrorist is my Freedom Fighter" - we helped them buy the ex-Warsaw pact trainer aircraft across NATO countries from the Soviet block. Approx 50+ of them to be more exact.

      Sounds resembling 9/11 original plan before the attackers replaced the trainer aircraft with hijacked airliners one month before execution (*)? Sure it does. Not surprising - some of Al Qaeda command contingent was in Chechnia those days (which did not prevent us training them under "Your terrorist is my Freedom Fighter" agenda).

      So before using that logic, you need to think - will the "Freedom Fighter" turn around in 10 years and blow up our buses and rape your daughter.

      So the conspiracy theorists which think that 9/11 is a black op gone wrong are not that far off. What they are missing is that it is a black op planned for another theater 6 years prior. Sponsored by us all the way too.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thing is.. you don't need a manual to tell you how to use a car to kill people... you just drive at them.

    1. mad_dr

      You just drive at them

      Tell that to the bellend who did just that and was (fortunately) so inept that he couldn't even hit anyone: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39380527

    2. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Thing is.. you don't need a manual to tell you how to use a car to kill people... you just drive at them.

      Exactly. The weapon that kills more people than all others in Blighty. The weapon no government dare restrict, as they do even an innocent vegetable knife. The weapon not subject to security theatre like banning laptops on planes.

      And above all, the weapon you can use without having to plan anything the police or spooks might seek to eavesdrop. Or procure anything that would bring you to their attention. Can we blame MI5 for failing to keep tabs on all drivers? Or even the subset of drivers with mental health problems as evidenced by a "road to Damascus" religious conversion?

      1. davidp231

        You could always pin it on the DVLA for not vetting people before dishing out their driving license.

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Thing is.. you don't need a manual to tell you how to use a car to kill people... you just drive at them

      Not entirely true. The pedestrian safety measures in a modern car like the ix40 as used in Westminster will render it unusable after the first few hits and/or fail to produce anything like the damage you are expecting. He hit 40+ people with the desire to kill and failed to kill all but two of them.

      So you actually need a manual to chose the right car and/or exactly how to mow people down with it if you want to kill people, not put a few in hospital.

      That manual most likely already exist. It is also clear that this gentleman did not have access to it. He would have chosen a different vehicle and driven it differently.

      His case will be used for all it is worth by the Government to push repressive legislation despite the fact that he neither operated under instructions, nor had access to them via an encrypted channel. Rudd already started doing it.

      1. veti Silver badge

        If I wanted to kill people, I wouldn't hire an ix40 or any other kind of family car. I'd hire a pickup truck, or at least a Ford Transit.

        It's a real shame the murderer was killed. It would be nice to know something about what he was thinking. Did he really plan this at all, or was it a spur-of-the-moment thing?

  4. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Hmmm

    I've no love for Goobook or Faceool but I find these gubbernint demands somewhat concerning.

    Where does it end?

    Who exactly are the extremists?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmmm

      I rather suspect that they are in Northcliffe House, and advising those at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

      Did it really take them 120 seconds? I thought journalists were supposed to be smart.

      Tea, and or Friday reflection sauce.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmmm

      I've no love for Goobook or Faceool but I find these gubbernint demands somewhat concerning. Where does it end?

      Who knows.

      The UK has passed some pretty draconian laws in the past to deal with terrorism. Back around about the late 1980s / early 90s it became illegal for the media / press to report bomb scares on the London underground. It was a direct curtailment of the freedom of the press, but it did stop the IRA phoning in hoaxes. AFAIK internment was used in Northern Ireland, though that seemed to be a self defeating policy. Equally radical, though not draconian, was the whole idea of doing a deal (the Good Friday Agreement), which basically gave Adams / McGuinness / everyone else a way of going legit and building up a nice pension scheme.

      So if a radical, draconian law has a good chance of being effective, looks good in the public eye, and catches the prevailing social mood, then so be it.

      Before this week's attack the UK parliament criticised Google and Facebook for their attitudes, and withdrew their advertising custom. Suddenly it has become morally questionable to advertise on Google, and now there's been an attack and headlines like "Google, the Terrorist's Friend". If ever the government was thinking to pass emergency legislation to turn that moral obligation that everyone has suddenly grown into a lawful obligation (something like "Advertise on these blacklisted websites and we'll prosecute you"), now is a good time to do it.

      Most governments are pretty motivated to do something about terrorism, they tend to lose general elections if they're seen to be too lax. Look at what happened in Spain just after the Madrid train bombings - the incumbent government lost the scheduled general election most unexpectedly, a consequence widely attributed to the political turmoil.

      Basically I think the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter have got very little time to sort themselves out. One more attack of any sort anywhere in Europe attributable to someone radicalised online would start forcing governments hands, especially as they've publicly identified Google and Facebook and Twitter as being at fault on the issue.

      1. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: Hmmm

        So if Google were not there, would DuckDuckGo, Bing, and Yahoo not do nearly as well, and would the opprobium not fall immediately upon them? even if they all were gone, along with Facebook and Twitter, it is likely that would be terrorists would be able to find what they need in media printed on paper or broadcast on TV and radio.

        As a number of others here and elsewhere have noted, it really does not take a great intellect or a lot of research to come up with a way of killing and maiming more or less randomly. It is easier to acquire firearms in the US than many other places, but the world is awash in cars and kitchen knives, just for starters, and a two foot piece of metal pipe in the hand of a motivated person can bring down a good deal of harm of a decidedly retail sort.

    3. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm

      Who exactly are the extremists?

      They're whoever we're not happy with. History is full of mission creep. One of today's obvious examples is the sexual Agenda: anyone who questions LGBT rights (or whatever the current label is) is extremist and dangerous.

      We used to be a lot better when we (mostly) believed in Free Speech. Then came Blair, the Great Enemy of Enlightenment values, and we saw censorship in the ascendant. For a couple of years after 2010 I was optimistic about a rolling back of the police state, but sadly I was wrong.

      A term you can still google is "Virgin Killer", for the story of when the Great Firewall came to public attention as Wikipedia got censored in the UK.

  5. wolfetone Silver badge

    So are the Daily Fail journalists going to be arrested for viewing and consuming terrorist material?

  6. Robin Bradshaw
    Coat

    In the style of the Daily Fail

    Just now it took me two minutes on google to find a visual terror guide on how one unthinking muppet and a bus can inflict injury upon millions.

    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2016/05/11/12/3409387C00000578-0-image-a-1_1462964426095.jpg

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: the Guardian is polarizing

      "Kieren McCarthy opined "Even the polarizing newspaper the Daily Mail"

      Only a Corbynist would say the Daily Mail is polarizing. Many of us think the Guardian is polarizing."

      Oh behave. The Daily Mail is simultaneously one of the (used to be the, not sure now) most viewed news websites in the world, while at the same time reviled by many millions in the UK. It has ran more sickening stories than any other newspaper in the UK, while at the same time (according to a journalist friend of mine) employing some of the best investigative journalists in the business.

      So yes, polarizing.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: the Guardian is polarizing

          Oh yeah? Here is a Daily Mail story about the Cumbria shooter, who killed way more people than this loon in Westminster. Here is what it has to say about Harold Shipman, easily the biggest mass murderer in modern UK history. Here is its discussion of Pavlo Lapshyn.

          Strangely enough, in all three of these articles, I don't see any discussion of the murderer's religious beliefs.

  8. J.Smith

    I wonder, if I tried, I could find prurient titillation stories on the on the Daily Mail website in 2 minutes.

  9. Andrew Jones 2

    An understandable reaction - but a very slippery slope.

    And then.......

    "Google, Facebook etc you are hosting (or linking to) pages set up by disgruntled current / former customers of a company and this is causing that company to lose money - we demand that you do more to protect the interests of these companies."

    will become

    "Google, Facebook, etc, you are hosting (or linking to) pages setup by disgruntled citizens who hope to enact change in government policies by encouraging other disgruntled citizens to sign a petition. We demand that you do more to ensure these pages never see the light of day."

    and progress to

    "Google, Facebook, etc you are hosting (or linking to) videos uploaded by people who have an opinion that differs to that of the government of this country - we demand that you act swiftly to prevent these videos from being widely seen - before they infect others who may adopt the same opinions as those expressed by the uploader of the video."

    and eventually

    "Google, Facebook, etc you are hosting (or linking to) content uploaded / posted by people whereupon they express thoughts and opinions that we have decided are detrimental to our ability to run our country in whatever way we see fit. As such - we demand that you ONLY allow content to be linked to and / or uploaded if it meets the content guidelines in this 25,000 page document."

  10. Mark 85 Silver badge

    It's slippery sloop at best

    Indeed, what makes it slippery is the very nature of government and the web. Ban one thing, well the providers/authors change tactics and something else needs to be banned. The question becomes, we're do we stop banning? I could see that eventually, the party in power could have any news or websites about the opposition being banned.

    Damn it.. Orwell's 1984 was a cautionary tale, not a freaking instruction manual which everyone in government and fearful of the "bad guys" seems to be following.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's slippery sloop at best

      unlikely that will happen anytime soon

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's slippery sloop at best

      Better swab those decks then

      - Captain Pugwash

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: It's slippery sloop at best

        ... and Tom the cabin boy smiled and said nothing.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If a car can be used as a wmd, get ready to lose yours, a bit like your privacy.

    I'm glad the daily mail did the research about running people over because I would never have thought of that unless I saw a video on the internet telling me how to steer such a vehicle. tl:dr you can tell it's comic relief night at the daily fail because it never ends.

    Personally I still drive a shire horse on the canal to avoid getting on government watch lists as a terrorist/freedom fighter (I added that for fun and want to claim a free laptop)

    1. Alumoi
      Black Helicopters

      If a car can be used as a wmd, get ready to lose yours, a bit like your privacy.

      Why do you think modern cars come as standard with some kind of remote control equipment enabled and hard to disable by most people? Why do you think there's this sudden push to driverless cars?

      If your car can be disabled anytime the manufacturer/government wants and you can be locked in your car at the push of a button you can be easily 'detained for your own protection' every time you dare to think.

      1. Ivan Headache

        except that they will have to phone the car company, listen to a menu, press a button, listen to another menu press another button, get a "Your call is very important...." message then listen to part of Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

        By that time the 'terrorist' will have driven the length of Oxford street and mown down countless numbers.

      2. Tom Paine Silver badge

        If you couldn't figure out half a dozen instant showstoppers with your movie plot threat scenario in the time it took you to compose your post, you must be a very, very fast typist.

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

    Google's problem is that chillaxing with call me Dave no longer cuts the mustard.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They would solve three problems at once

    If Google and FB started some curating of content (which they will only do reluctantly as it costs money), it would help them in multiple ways:

    1 - they reduce the help to terrorists (the question there is where to draw the line - would Breitbart still be allowed?)

    2 - they could actively prevent ads from appearing near inappropriate content

    3 - they could clamp down on fake news and hate crime

    The problem: as far as I can tell they make good money on all of the above, so I am personally doubtful that that conflict of interest will be solved other than with some makeshift options that mainly appear to fix the issue but which will either get defunded soon or allowed to wither away.

    1. Chris Hance

      Re: They would solve three problems at once

      I'm a little lost on who "they" are.

      I was under the impression that "makeshift options that mainly appear to fix the issue but which will either get defunded soon or allowed to wither away" were collectiively called "legislation", and therefore the exclusive provenance of one's government.

      1. Tom Paine Silver badge

        Re: They would solve three problems at once

        Perhaps because you haven't studied Government and Politics or similar subjects?

    2. hoola

      Re: They would solve three problems at once

      And that is actually where all the problems stem from. They probably make a disproportionate amount of money from these types of material.

      Go to the biggest amount of traffic on the web, pornography in all its guises.

      As far as I am aware you do not get adverts for M&S underwear or McDonalds on the those site.......

      Then there is what is forced onto the Dark Web. This will be the same however what it does do is put that physical break in where the casual viewer will not bother. The real fanatic probably will but it is a lot more difficult.

    3. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: They would solve three problems at once

      1 - they reduce the help to terrorists (the question there is where to draw the line - would Breitbart still be allowed?)

      No, the problem isn't Breitbart -- as they've been implicated in inciting and encouraging terrorism on multiple occasions, so it's obvious they should be blocked. No, the real problem is the Daily Mail, Express, Sun and Telegraph. Really hard to write a law banning race or religious-based hate and incitement that wouldn't also catch those particularly repulsive turds in the sewer of the British press...

  15. Stuart Grout

    Extremist content or bait for extremists?

    Seems to me that the Security Services would be better off getting ISPs to provide IP or user data on anyone accessing such material. This would help focus resources people who my be preparing acts of terrorism.

    Come to think of it, it's probable that the Security Services are already using these tactics, despite the politicians making their noisy show of "doing something" while the effective work is going on quietly in the background.

  16. heyrick Silver badge

    "can and must do more,"

    Exactly. But unlike blaming Google and social media, how about realising that the nutjob was, once again, "known" to the spooks and had already been linked to extremism?

    How about, oh I dunno, instead of signing off on every idea to pillage citizen's privacy, the PM and HomeSec understand that the security agencies are clearly incapable of doing their job with their current level of staffing. Sort that out first.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: "can and must do more,"

      At least Google and Facebook stopped him sharing MP3 files - Lord only knows what he would have done if he could have shared terrorist music and disco with others, The Daily Fail would have had a fit.

  17. PhilipN Silver badge

    For perspective - Siege of Sidney Street

    A disturbing melange of criminally-minded immigrants, termed revolutionaries, the armed response, close involvement on the part of the Government represented by the Home Secretary, to what today would inevitably be called terrorism. Not for the first time; nor the last.

    All more than 100 years ago. In London. The Home Secretary a young-ish Winston Churchill.

    Would be interesting to look at contemporaneous news reports, short of which I guess they ran the same gamut from stiff upper lip sangfroid to rabid and bloodthirsty bollocks.

    Come to think of it there wasn't much else back then apart from the print media.

  18. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Daily Fail ?

    I'm impressed that the Daily Heil felt the need to search for a manual on how to use a car to hurt and kill people. I suspect that most people could work it out for themselves. Or possibly read the Fail 'news' stories over past years and see reports which give lots of useful hints and tips on how to do it. Does this mean that the Daily Fail can now be classified as a 'terrorist training manual' and can therefore be shut down and the Editor and Owner locked up in Belmarsh? Please? After all, freedom of the press is one thing, but not when they publish information that is of use to potential terrorists.

  19. Not also known as SC
    Facepalm

    Daily Mail - Hypocritical?

    According to NoScript, The Daily Mail's website runs Google scripts for advertising and I guess therefore revenue raising purposes. So while complaining that Google (indirectly) supports terrorism, they themselves are helping to bank roll Google by using their advertising services.

    1. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: Daily Mail - Hypocritical?

      Ads syndicated by Goolge,, yes, and using Google Analytics (the web tracking bugs and whatnot. Fire up Wireshark one day and check out how much crap from third party sites a typical Fail page contains.

  20. sysconfig

    Two things they want

    1. They want to be seen to be doing something, anything.

    2. They want more control over what we can and cannot see. Even if it's done with best intentions (I doubt that), there's no way anybody can effecitvely control which website should or shouldn't be visible. No pattern is perfect: Country of origin? (Hey there Donald!) Keywords? (let's ban everything about cars or knives?)

    The UK Gov's wish (and that's all it is) answers to the demands of rags like the Daily Fail and their readers. But it's a futile attempt at best, and it's a very slippery slope.

    Also, unless UK Gov somehow manage a world-wide ban of certain sites on Google (and all other search engines), people with enough criminal energy will easily be able to work around it. So it achieves nothing. Meanwhile, all the false positives will affect Law Abiding Citizen. Another win for the "terrorists" (in quotes, because we use that word way too lightly and sometimes inappropriately).

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: Two things they want

      As the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        the road to hell is paved with good...

        ...inventions. FTFY.

        Computers, nuclear power, DDT, bird- and bat-mincers...

  21. scrubber
    Childcatcher

    Is the material dangerous?

    Can we expect a bunch of daily Mail journalists to be radicalised by viewing this material? Are they going on a killing spree after looking at these websites?

    Ridiculous? Then the material itself isn't dangerous unless looked at by someone who is already unhinged. Do we want to restrict what normal people can view by potential worst case scenarios if the mentally deranged look at it? Are we back at blaming and banning violent video games? Burning books?

    1. billse10

      Re: Is the material dangerous?

      "Is the material dangerous?"

      If by "the material", you mean the Daily Mail - absolutely.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Is the material dangerous?

        "If by "the material", you mean the Daily Mail - absolutely."

        I prefer Andrex!

        Coat. Those outside nettys can be chilly!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google is an index

    Why should they be responsible for the content of that index?

    For the terrorist related web sites out there, the government should be addressing the root cause and getting them removed.

    Why is shooting the messenger seen as some kind of success? Or is it just the mob mentality of the Daily Fail at work again?

    1. tom dial Silver badge

      Re: Google is an index

      I give this an upvote on the basis that liberty extended to the population in general will be abused by some, but is better than some of the alternatives. Corporations are not people, but they are legal constructs organized and operated by people for the benefit of their owners and operators, and broadly have liberty to pursue their goals, subject to legal constraints much the same as partnerships, proprietorships, and individuals.

      Addressing the root cause - terrorist web sites - may, however, be a bit beyond the reasonable capability of single governments, or governments generally, without bringing serious damage to the Internet as a globally accessible resource. Some input from Chinese people might inform here.

      1. Tom Paine Silver badge

        Re: Google is an index

        It's almost as if the Daily Mail Group (DMG) and the rest of the scumsuckers had some sort of conflict of interest -- say, for instance, some sort of financial incentive to want to do them down.

        But that's ridiculous. Everyone knows Dacretrash is the epirome of the hard-bitten newshound, relentlessly pursuing the truth wherever it may lead. (Except for his proprietor being a French-resident tax exile and Dacre himself pocketing millions in EU farm subsidies, of course, because they don't count.)

        OH WAIT!!!!

        https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/may/26/dmgt-print-ads-daily-mail-mail-online-metro

  23. Paul

    Ban the Daily Mail, I went online to find out how to hate people, particularly foreigners, and everything I needed to learn was in the DM including encouragement!

  24. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Since Farceborg et all can swiftly take down nudity, breast-feeding, buskers playing copyrighted material I can't see why they are so slow at taking down terrorist pages. Unless the US social media companies are actually supporters of terrorism?

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      because

      nudity and buskers playing copyrighted stuff are a direct threat to the USA and the loonies in charge over there, hence the quick takedowns

      But some poor bugger having his head cut off by a bunch of deluded fools is'nt not a threat, and in fact , can be used to justify ever higher military/police spending/intrusion by the self same loonies in charge............

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: because

        possibly an even simpler reason? because .. the copyright owners tell the site operators about things that are illegal, and mostly accept that it would be almost impossible for operators to do their own jobs (protecting their content) for them, and matching what is and isn't allowed in different legal jurisdictions? One man's murderous tract is another's call for freedom, after all. [There's a rather memorable BBC documentary about Niccolo Machiavelli, from around 1990, in which someone recounts a recent - at the time - conversation with a Catholic priest, who said Machiavelli was a "terrorist", something he very obviously was not.]

        If governments - or the Daily Fail editorial page - want things taken down, they have the legal powers they need right now. Identify it, issue a takedown request, and if necessary get warrant or a court order. The operators can respond to materials reported to them, but no-one should be surprised by (or criticise them for) false positives, or for taking down things that are perfectly legal in the UK but disliked by, for example, the government of Turkmenistan, because it crosses the line in that country.

        When it comes to the Daily Mail, don't expect online media companies to police things unless you also expect offline media or communications companies to also police things (after all, no-one has ever used personals or classifieds for disseminating materials, or put them in the post, have they?) On that count, I find the blatant sexism of the MailOnline extreme and the entire site should be taken down immediately.

    2. sysconfig

      Unless the US social media companies are actually supporters of terrorism?

      You don't have to go far back in time to find plenty of cases where the US, UK and others have made a sizeable amount of money by selling war machinery into countries which are now "evil" and supporting/hosting terrorists. In some cases you don't have to go back in time at all. The Saudi's are UK's biggest importer of weapons currently, for example, and as long as they keep fighting Yemen, they'll need more gear.

      So if our governments (via arms manufacturers' lobbying and tax collection) have no interest in having an entirely peaceful world, why would companies in such countries care much about it?

  25. Unbelievable!

    Censorship can kiss my grits.

    I'm coming to the stage of thinking where I have realised that nothing is possible without some kind of distant, overpaid, fuckwit in a pretencious job approving it or monitoring it.

    What happened to the natural order of things? Why do the masses have to lose their privacy ?

    It strikes me as obvious that the government(s) slurping of data hasn't helped anything other than monitor the masses of innocents. Why are governments putting 3rd parties in the firing line when the government(s) have equally ability to do perform monitoring and execution. Hell why do they need all our data if they want social media to do the sorting?

    i could continue on this rant.. the whole situation it makes me livid. You never see relaxing of laws..

    "yes, now we have something better to firm out grip on getting peoples data from social media. We are turning every data holding organisation into government employees.. and haha little people.. you're paying for it, thrice."

  26. Suricou Raven

    Simple solution:

    1. Wait for self-driving car tech to improve a little more. It's almost there.

    2. Mandate that all cars include, by law, a front-mounted camera that will halt the car if it's about to hit a pedestrian, and which cannot be turned off.

    3. Enjoy a new generation of drivers complaining that their car won't start because the garage is too dark and the camera thinks someone put tape over the lens.

    1. Kiwi Silver badge

      Re: Simple solution:

      3. Enjoy a new generation of drivers complaining that their car won't start because the garage is too dark and the camera thinks someone put tape over the lens.

      I wonder how it'd respond if I was to, instead of tape, put a picture of an empty street over the lens - a street that in reality is filled with people? Or put a smartphone just in front of it - one which plays a video of the planned route that I filmed yesterday, knowing that today the street has been turned into a market and is filled with people. If someone was determined, how easily could such a system be fooled?

      Of course, even if it was mandated that all cars become driverless and all non-driverless cars be removed from the road, well I have enough knowledge and mechanical experience to build a chassis, I have the ability with some reference material to build various types of engine including one that could be powered by hydrogen, and I could build a small refinery to turn oil into petrol (not hard for a small one-off type of setup where quality only has to be just enough to work), use vegetable oil as a bio-diesel, or build a small plant that uses solar power to split water into oxygen and hydrogen - and slowly build it up over a few months. Or I could just shove some nails into a bit of 4x2 and have a smashing time... Serious injury is probably a lot more costly than a fatality after all.

      There are many simple things that could become a deadly weapon if abused. Most people have the intelligence to figure out how simple items could be used to hurt or kill. It's not rocket science! And even if it was, our libraries would have plenty of material on it!

  27. Noonoot

    History - repeating itself

    "This sort of shit, blowing up people, mowing people down in cars because of a religion didn't exist 15 years ago."

    Religion has always, and will always, be the forerunner behind the notion of terrorism. Then come politics. It doesn't have to be about blowing yourself up or mowing people down.

    To say that the idea of blowing up people (or mowing them down) didn't exist 15 years ago is an insult to the memory of those who have died at the hands of individuals and groups carrying out atrocities in the name of their religion.

    True, history shows us that it's predominantly groups that use religion as an excuse to terrororise innocent people. You can go as far back as you like, but the most formidable examples are: the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, the Sicarii, KKK, IRA. What about Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh? Whether it's bombs, torture, mass poisoning, or simply opening fire on innocent people, often it has been individuals representing a cult or ideal, to which their "leader" has then acknowledged it was done in the name of their fanatical organization.

    Cult or religious faction - to me there is no difference.

    1. Suricou Raven

      Re: History - repeating itself

      "This sort of shit, blowing up people, mowing people down in cars because of a religion didn't exist 15 years ago."

      Ah, we have young 'un here! Do the letters I-R-A mean anything to you? Their violence had both religious and political dimensions.

  28. ElDave

    But but but....

    ...a terror manual on how to use a car for mass murder...

    Perhaps ban driving lessons while they're at it.

    Long time reader... first time poster... evening all.

    1. hellsatan

      Re: But but but....

      What on Earth is a 'terror manual on how to use a car for mass murder'?:

      1: Get car.

      2: Run people over.

      Crap i've just written a terror manual. Daily Mail best not hear about this :/

      1. Suricou Raven

        Re: But but but....

        It might include a few useful common-sense suggestions, but nothing that a few minutes thinking wouldn't. Like the importance of renting a big, heavy vehicle, rather than trying to crush people in a smartcar.

  29. Tom Paine Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Cui bono?

    What a remarkable coincidence that the sewer press should turn their flamethrowers of bourgeois ignorance and knee-jerk moral control-freakery on the very organisations that are putting them out of business by taking all their advertising revenue!

    Funny old world, isn't it?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019