back to article UK security chief: How 'bout a tax for tech firms that are 'uncooperative' on terror content?

Tech firms are indirectly costing the UK government millions in "human surveillance" of extremist content and should have a windfall tax levied against them to make up for it, according to security minister Ben Wallace. Wallace said that inaction from internet giants means the cost of tackling terror content is "heaped on law …

  1. John Robson Silver badge

    Extra tax on pubs...

    After all people can have conversations in them... Shock horror.

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Extra tax on pubs...

      You may jest, but this reflects the controversy over the dangerous and subversive drug coffee in the European Enlightenment. Coffee houses were notorious fora for believers in dangerous ideas - like free speech - to get together and, um, radicalise.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Extra tax on pubs...

        Extra grants for pubs and bacon sandwich shops - for the sterling work they have done in deterring Islamic extremism among their customers.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Extra tax on pubs...

          just to point out, this is all about using a TAX to stifle an activity.

          I have to wonder if ANY kind of tax would "stifle activity". Logically concludes into an argument in favor of supply side economics (which I'll spare you from). If 'a' equals 'b', then 'b' should equal 'a', right?

          Just sayin'.

      2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Extra tax on pubs...

        Coffee houses were notorious fora for believers in dangerous ideas - like free speech - to get together and, um, radicalise.

        I seem to remember that at least one ruler of the Ottoman Empire banned coffee shops and turned a blind eye to shops selling alcohol for exactly that reason.

    2. Oh Homer
      Childcatcher

      "terror content"

      I think he meant to say "alleged terror content".

      Certainly there is content out there that promotes terrorism, and some of it may even be blatantly obvious, but once you throw "trivia" like due process out the window, suddenly anything the establishment doesn't like becomes arbitrarily designated as "terrorism", and can be intercepted, monitored, logged, blocked, censored and generally used to persecute you, with complete impunity.

      Frankly there's more "radicalisation" coming from Westminster than anywhere else, given the brazen propaganda it spreads implying that companies are somehow aiding and abetting terrorism merely by refusing to violate civil and human rights.

      So it turns out that fighting crime costs money?

      Good, it's supposed to. I'd rather my taxes were spent on fighting crime than persecuting people who simply dare to disagree with the government.

      NB: It's worth remembering that the original definition of "terrorism" was "state rule by terror", before the actual terrorists "radicalised" people into believing otherwise.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: "terror content"

        Like Icelandair ?

  2. wolfetone Silver badge

    "Wallace said that inaction from internet giants means the cost of tackling terror content is "heaped on law enforcement agencies" – and the state should be able to recoup that in some way."

    Just imagine the work and money they would've saved themselves if they hadn't gone in all guns blazing on various countries in the middle east.

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      To be fair, while there's much to blame British governments for, much of it is historic. You can't blame the botched establishment of what is now Israel on today's politicians. Nor the overthrow of a popular elected government in 1950s Iran and the imposition of a despotic Shah, leading to the 1979 Islamic revolution.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        You can't blame them for creating the problem to a point. But things like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria are all modern enough to blame current politicians for.

    2. Alister Silver badge

      "Wallace said that inaction from internet giants means the cost of tackling terror content is "heaped on law enforcement agencies" – and the state should be able to recoup that in some way."

      Strangely, perhaps, it was my belief that the law enforcement agencies were paid to enforce the law already, that's their job.

      If various internet companies didn't already help them out with traffic capture and analysis, the law enforcement agencies would be much worse off than they are now.

    3. macjules Silver badge

      Essentially it is this:

      "Please Mrs May, I've made lots and lots of noise to get big nasty Google to pay some more money, so that you can spend more money on illegally bailing out the East Coast Line. If you give me a much more important job then I can attack Apple and Facebook and extort bribe fine them for some more cash as well"

    4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Gimp

      ""heaped on law enforcement agencies" For some "Spectre" is a warning, for others...

      A dream they can only hope to emulate.*

      Including the "funding model."

      *I wonder how many outsiders realize how close it is to reality.

  3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Or ...

    They could cancel all the surveillance, put a tenth of the money saved into a fund for the police to investigate when terrorists get dobbed in by the neighbours and spend the other 95% on Caribbean holidays for MPs (any time MPs spend not making laws is a bonus in my book).

    1. My Alter Ego

      Re: Or ...

      "when terrorists get dobbed in by the neighbours"

      As the last few years have showed, it doesn't matter how much neighbours and acquaintances try dobbing in radicalised people if those reports aren't acted on by the security services.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Or ...

        I think that's their point

      2. Solarflare

        Re: Or ...

        Which is why he said to spend money on it so that they do...

      3. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: Or ...

        They aren't acted on because there's insufficient resource to do so. And because we have laws preventing harassment of people without any evidence there's a limit to how much investigation can go on anyway. Much of what could happen would be monitoring of communication and contacts. What were you asking for again?

        1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          Re: Adam 52

          Today way have big data systems that monitor vast amount of facebook, twitter and keep a record of which web sites every UK citizen visits. A slightly different scale funding to a few policemen checking a facebook page or two each year.

          1. Adam 52 Silver badge

            Re: Adam 52

            "Today way have big data systems that monitor vast amount of facebook, twitter and keep a record of which web sites every UK citizen visits. A slightly different scale funding to a few policemen checking a facebook page or two each year"

            This is a beautiful demonstration that you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.

            If you want to educate yourself find out how many suspected terrorists there are, what methods are used to monitor them and how many contacts those people might have. Those details are available from the newspapers and the BBC. And then try to come up with a basic budget. You don't have to know details to get within a couple of orders of magnitude, you can even assume 24/7 covert surveillance is practical with one person and a travelcard if you want. Then add in everyone "dobbed in" and do the sums again.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Flocke

      "for the police to investigate when terrorists get dobbed in by the neighbours"

      Bad idea. I mean: why are we paying taxes for? Isn't that exactly to get jobs like this done from the government in the first place?

      Also... remember the last suicide bomber in London? No? Good, because that's the best way to punish them: forgetting about the people who did it and only remember the incident itself.

      But anyway: several people from his surroundings, including people from the mosque he visited, had warned the authorities several times. And the police did little more than putting the person on a list.

      If that's how our government responds to reported terrorist threats, then I think that money is the least of their issues.

      1. Mike Ozanne

        Re: @Flocke

        I fear that this is a consequence of untargeted surveillance. It generates so many false positives that effort is dissipated and the process loses focus.

  4. Mike Ozanne

    More incentive for tech companies to move the operational elements, and the related jobs outside of HMG's jurisdiction....This government via the Investigatory powers act and other nonsense has effectively ensured that no-one with a brain is going to set up an IT service organisation in the UK and those already here have a huge incentive to skedaddle. They've likely caused vastly more economic damage than ISIS ever could....

    1. Christoph Silver badge

      "They've likely caused vastly more economic damage than ISIS ever could....

      They've cause 120,000 excess deaths through austerity. Far far more than all the terrorists put together.

      1. MrRimmerSIR!

        Don't let any complexities in the argument get in the way of a good rant, eh?

        https://fullfact.org/health/austerity-120000-unnecessary-deaths/

        1. Adam 52 Silver badge

          I've only got personal experience to go on, but I know a motorbiker died last year in the six hours it took an ambulance to get to him and I know someone got stabbed over Christmas because the nearest Police officer available to respond to the call was 30 miles away.

          Neither of those events would have happened 10 years ago.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Satire right ? Because there's never been any "austerity" - there was a (slight) reduction in the rate of increase in spending, but a reduction in spending, not as such.

        1. Adam 52 Silver badge

          There's been a reduction in the number of Police officers available to respond. There's been a reduction in Police civilian staff. There's been a cut in Police helicopter cover. There's been a halving of roads policing (i.e. traffic cops). There's been a cut in coroner cover. There's been a cut in search and rescue cover. The Navy and RAF are smaller. There's been a dramatic increase in ambulance wait times.

          Maybe lots more people are getting injured. Maybe the money is being spent elsewhere. I don't know. But it is very, very bad right now and people are dying in circumstances where they wouldn't have ten years ago.

          What I've also noticed is that both Ambulance and Police will refuse to attend if they're understaffed rather than risk making a mistake and being sued or prosecuted. Ambulance in particular will turn up with five crews and a specialist Hazardous Area Rescue Team now whereas before they'd use a stretcher and volunteers/firemen.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "They've likely caused vastly more economic damage than ISIS ever could...."

      The 7/705 London bombings killed 59 people (including the terrorists and a Brazilan electrician

      The Manchester bombing of 22/5/17 killed 23 (including the bomber).

      So while those were personal tragedies for the victims families I think you're probably right.

      This is the "I have spot on my nose, I'll just get a chain saw and remove it" school of logic.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "sell our details to loans and soft-porn companies"

    He's right, I owe thousands of pound for buying titty videos I can't watch because I was radicalised.

    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      That claim doesn't make any sense - if the details are for sale the HMG can buy them just like anyone else.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        True but HMG doesn't want to pay and the level of data they want is a lot more than just for targeted advertising.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          True but HMG doesn't want to pay and the level of data they want is a lot more than just for targeted advertising.

          A new business model then? Pay for targeted radicals.

          On the other hand, the governments slurp everything anyway so they already have it. Maybe not slurp everything which is too much to sort through and only pay for what they want?

    2. JimboSmith Silver badge

      "sell our details to loans and soft-porn companies"

      No no the government he's got it wrong. All web based porn companies who want to be accessible in the UK will have to have seen something to prove you're over 18 if you want to watch smut - your details. Otherwise you won't be able to see smut on these naughty sites officially............. you'll have to view it in one of the many other ways, or watch different porn on unregulated sites.

  6. Red Bren
    Big Brother

    Costing or saving?

    Surely tech firms are indirectly saving the UK government millions in "human surveillance" of extremist content by building and maintaining services that extremists use to communicate? All the security services need to do is follow due process and get a court order to obtain the communications records of the suspects. Unless the security services don't want to follow due process with judicial oversight, and the "suspects" are anyone who questions authority.

    We're all extremists now...

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: Costing or saving?

      The government think that Google/Zuck/etc al are Spectre and they're waiting for "C" to come along and sign them up instantly.

  7. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Tax Laws

    ..especially given that various governments are already embroiled in battles to get the businesses to pay what they still owe.

    If the companies are breaking tax laws, then they should haul them before the courts. The problem is that the companies are not breaking any laws. They just happen to be using laws not in the manner intended when the laws were written.

    If governments want these businesses to pay more tax, they have to change the tax rules.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Tax Laws

      "If governments want these businesses to pay more tax, they have to change the tax rules."

      It's not that easy.

      If you have a small indigenous economy you don't have that much to lose by inviting in multinationals by offering low taxation. What's more those indigenous businesses gain off the back of it by being lightly taxed. If you have a large economy the tax lost by taxing those lightly offsets the gains obtained by binging in those large multinationals. It's a trade-off. What you see happening is complaints about not being able to compete in what's in effect a free market in taxation of multinationals. Governments, as usual, wanting their cake and eating it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tax Laws

        If you have a small indigenous economy ....

        But we don't. The UK is the fifth largest economy in the world. It is a hub of commerce, finance and law, of business services, and it has a very open market of over 60 million consumers. It has world class transport links, an innovative business sector, a host of world class engineering firms, reliable and safe energy (despite the government's best efforts so far), world class education and scientific research,

        it has huge international respect and prestige. Not that you'd know any of that if the BBC or Graun are your usual news sources.

        There's plenty of ways that the government could improve its tax take from tax dodging multi-nationals, and ways of making sure that if they don't want to pay the taxes, they don't do business here. Unfortunately, Westminster is infested by the hard of thinking, the timid, and the incompetent, so I'm not expecting much to change.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Christoph Silver badge

          Re: Tax Laws

          "The UK is the fifth largest economy in the world. It is a hub of commerce, finance and law, of business services,"

          And it's about to flush all that down the toilet on March 29 next year.

          1. MrRimmerSIR!

            Re: Tax Laws

            How many of the world's 5 largest economies are in the EU?

            1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

              Re: Tax Laws

              How many of the world's 5 largest economies are in the EU?

              Depending on who you ask, but generally accepted to be two. Extend the range to the top 10 and you can add another 2, sometimes 3 EU countries.

              Unfortunately the UK's economy has no worthwhile foundations underpinning it and is rather too focussed around moving other people's money about and being a handy gateway between the US and the EU.

            2. Anonymous Blowhard

              Re: Tax Laws

              According to this, it's two - but Britain isn't one of them...

            3. Adam 52 Silver badge

              Re: Tax Laws

              "How many of the world's 5 largest economies are in the EU?"

              Two (Germany and UK). Predictions are that India will take the UK's 5th place post-Brexit. UK will slip to 9th, between Brazil and Italy.

              Not entirely sure of the relevance though.

            4. John H Woods

              Re: Tax Laws

              "How many of the world's 5 largest economies are in the EU?"

              2: France and Germany

              UK stopped being the 5th largest when we voted for Brexit and, when we implement Brexit, we will either go shooting back into the Top 5 or shooting downwards to irrelevance, depending on your personal Leave/Remain polarity.

              Note that the 3 world economies bigger than Germany have much bigger populations: Japan 150%; China 1500%; USA 350%.

            5. MonkeyCee Silver badge

              Re: Tax Laws

              "How many of the world's 5 largest economies are in the EU?"

              2, Germany and UK. Unless the pound has had a terrible day, in which case still 2, Germany and France :)

              Of the largest 10, 4 are. Germany, UK, France and Italy.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Tax Laws

            I fail to see how Boganda day is going to change anything.

          3. Teiwaz Silver badge

            Re: Tax Laws

            And it's about to flush all that down the toilet on March 29 next year.

            Nonsense, it's just being redirected away from the nice quiet cul-de-sac the majority of voters want Britain to be.

            Move all the hippies, east europeans, gypsies threatening the peas and quiet. Chalk another success like preventing air traffic going over the well-to-do neighbourhoods...

        3. tiggity Silver badge

          Re: Tax Laws

          @ Ledswinger

          "World class transport links"

          Not within huge swathes of the UK we don't!

          Where we have vaguely passable transport links teh prices are a joke (when its cheaper to fly from A to B (sometimes via C on the continent) than get a train its not world class.

          And as for the road system .. most journeys are a pain (try E-W coast to coast journeys in many areas of UK and come back and say world class - - the x country links e.g. M62 are few and far between)

          1. collinsl

            Re: Tax Laws

            Bristol to Southend is coast to coast isn't it?

            How about Glasgow to Edinburgh? ;-)

            Or Exeter to Grimsby?

            1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

              Re: Tax Laws

              I used to regularly take the Inverness to Plymouth train.

        4. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Tax Laws

          It is a hub of commerce, finance and law, of business services

          In other words we produce fuck all of tangible value , we are a nation of shopkeepers.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Tax Laws

          But we don't. The UK is the fifth largest economy in the world.

          We dropped to 7th sometime last year. France and India overtook us late last year. (India was apparently expected to over take us in 2020)

          (That said, I did find a speech transcript from 2012 that suggested we were 7th largest then)

        6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Tax Laws

          "If you have a small indigenous economy ....

          But we don't."

          Exactly. If you're managing the Irish economy, say, you can gain more by bringing in large multinationals at low tax which is why Ireland do that. If the UK were to cut tax rates to tempt multinationals away from existing low tax areas they'd be unlikely to bring in more than they'd forego from existing UK businesses.

          It's an international market place in taxation. The pile-it-high-sell-it-cheap approach only works if you don't have too much to lose from your existing domestic tax base.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Tax Laws

            But companies don't actually pay tax, people do. Some combination of the owners, staff, and customers actually pay the tax even if the company is the mechanism by which the money is physically paid. So as long as you prevent gains being capitalized and removed as capital repayments and you control for foreign ownership via a withholding tax; your actual company tax rate isn't all that important for the actual tax receipts.

        7. Nick Kew Silver badge

          @Ledswinger

          The UK is the fifth largest economy in the world.

          Is that still true (even with the sleight-of-hand of calling the Eurozone a single economy)?

          We know EU, US, China and Japan have long been bigger than us, and last I heard India drew level with us in 2017 and is growing faster.

          There's plenty of ways that the government could improve its tax take from tax dodging multi-nationals,

          They need to kill off corporation tax as we know it today (that's the one that the multinationals have demonstrated to be unfit for purpose), and find alternatives. They have indeed been moving in that direction, but it's politically hard. Crackpot ideas like this blame-tax don't help!

    2. fajensen Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Tax Laws

      They just happen to be using laws not in the manner intended when the laws were written.

      They are using the laws they paid for *exactly* as intended!

      Both the government and corporate lobbyists have exclusive access to the very best tax lawyers of the land and we are supposed to believe that they, only in this very specific area, are a bunch of screw-ups who makes unfixable "mistakes"!?

      The only fear the government has is the "democratisation" of tax avoidance - the cat is out of the bag so to speak, when every country competing on lowering those "barriers to business" and automation in the form of multi-nation 9.99 EUR/Month accounting support systems available to anyone with web browser and a CC. Eventually even a lowly self-employed plumber can incorporate in, f.ex. Estonia, for a small fee and not pay tax in the UK exactly in the same way that the big, bad, corporations already do today (and paid lavishly for also). Exclusivity is rapidly being lost!

      And who would need the special services of Westminster then? All those good hunting trips, seminars at Aruba, F1 tickets and what-not .... Gone! Never to Return!!

      Quite a bind for "our" politicians - they somehow have to unwind most of the bennies they gave to their special friends to regain their bargaining power and raise their value in "the market". Biting those hands that feed them, at least for a while, while promising to devise new scams for their special friends and supporters "later". Quite a hard sell, one would think.

  8. DJ Smiley

    So if I pay, it's OK?

    The idea of a tax on something which shouldn't be there under any circumstance is kind of sending the wrong message, no?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: So if I pay, it's OK?

      Or instead of a tax, just fine per post which they don't take down in a set time, i.e. what Germany will do.

      It's much simpler to collect, there'll be plenty of fines to go round at the start so that's the windfall, and the fines won't go away unless Facebook actually does something about the problem meaning they might take it seriously.

      1. James R Grinter

        Re: So if I pay, it's OK?

        Perhaps he’s one of those politicians that consider all fines to be taxes? (It’s not just some politicians that think this way, of course)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "not give it to our democratically elected government"

    There's your issue, it's got nothing to do with radicalisation or the medieval terror bastards it's about getting more information on everyone.

    If I had said that 5 years ago I would have been castigated as a nut job.

    I also question the democratically elected rubbish, they weren't democratically elected they were strung together on the back of a billion pound bung with the dinosaur denying flat earth f*ckwits.

  10. Dinkrex

    Tax what?

    The likes of Signal and Telegram (the ones which are actually used by terrorist organisations) operate on grants and donations, they don't sell anything so what are you going to tax?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Tax what?

      Obviously open source is itself terrorist so has to be banned

  11. Rich 2

    Tax

    It's amazing how governments think that all problems can be solved with tax. Some examples;-

    Global warming

    Flagrant abuse of the public's personal information

    Ecological collapse

    Food waste

    Crap recycling facilities

    Why bother actually trying to solve a problem when you can make money from it instead?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tax

      Can't we just ship our law enforcement to China?

      They are good at it and shipping our crap abroad is doing wonders for our plastic recycling industry, it's not like one day they will get fed up with it.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Tax

        "shipping our crap abroad is doing wonders for our plastic recycling industry, it's not like one day they will get fed up with it."

        They already have. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42455378

  12. msknight Silver badge

    Wallace justified the semi-proposal by saying that companies "will ruthlessly sell our details to loans and soft-porn companies but not give it to our democratically elected government".

    And I take it that he has ruled out paying for it? ;-)

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      By forcing age restrictions on websites, the UK will soon be bringing the task of selling details to soft-porn companies in-house.

  13. James 51 Silver badge
    Pirate

    A tax won't work. It would have to be a direct charge or fine.

    1. Mike Ozanne

      And if the responsible legal entity places itself outside UK jurisdiction how is such a fine to be levied? Or are we going to have a great fire wall like some disgusting Commie shithole?? Setting such a thing up would by itself, justify changing the government by violent means..

      1. James 51 Silver badge

        Facebook and Google do have operations inside the UK even if they aren't were the money technically flows through.

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        If it's outside the UK and they don't pay the fine, UK.gov will have a generic banhammer implemented at most ISPs in the form of the age restriction DNS blocker.

        You see, once you've got a banhammer, everything looks like a nail.

        1. Mike Ozanne

          "If it's outside the UK and they don't pay the fine, UK.gov will have a generic banhammer implemented at most ISPs in the form of the age restriction DNS blocker."

          So large numbers of people who want to use facebook etc after HMG drives it overseas, will start using VPN's or public proxies.. or do we try and ban those as well?? Good electoral luck to the party that tears twitter facebook and snapchat from the still warm fingers of the millenial generation "for their own good"

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            All those will be paying the fine. Telegram or Gab might not.

  14. Hans 1 Silver badge

    Wallace justified the semi-proposal by saying that companies "will ruthlessly sell our details to loans and soft-porn companies but not give it to our democratically elected government".

    I admit, I read up to there, then my eyelids closed, I was trying to suppress as I had company around me and laughter was not really an option, could not stand it any langer so I escaped here to the comments section .... ahhhhhh

    https://youtu.be/kx_G2a2hL6U?t=2m2s

    My response to Mr Wallace: Your democratically elected government, or so you call it, that gets elected on lies, scaremongering and more, evil, lies, like all previous British governments for as long as I can remember, and I am not young, has absolutely NO F* RIGHT to get hold of more citizen's data than is ABSOLUTELY necessary for the task that is yours, governing. We have already seen your administration leave details of millions of citizens on some disk or USB key in a train or wherever for anyone to grab, thank you very much. You will notice that pr0n sites are quite a bit better at keeping data safely, not that I would want them to have it in the first place, mind. Besides, your democratically elected government has vowed to do away with the ECJ, the only independent judicial authority in the UK today, but even that is nothing, WORSE, your PM has OPENLY admitted to having a different "interpretation" of what encompasses Human Rights, compared to other European Democracies ... so, no, excuse my English, F* OFF!

  15. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    " we're having to de-radicalise people who have been radicalised"

    Is there any evidence that that has ever worked?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No, because they blow themselves up before you find out if they have been de-radicalised.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        RE: "No, because they blow themselves up before you find out if they have been de-radicalised."

        As the furry one himself would say: Boom Boom !

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Is there any evidence that that has ever worked?

      Yes for a mere billion quid you can convert a bunch of terrorist supporting religous extremists into a support and trust partner in government

  16. mark l 2 Silver badge

    According to Ben Wallace because it might take a few weeks too long to to take down a ISIS propaganda video suddenly the person who viewed it is now going to require intensive deradicalisation at the cost of millions of pounds?

    The problem is the government is spending all this money on fighting terrorism but yet terrorist don't really cause that many deaths compared to something like air pollution. But because that kills slowly over a period of years rather than a sudden one off event they pour loads of money into monitoring the internet and just stick their heads in the sand and ignore the other problems.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If people are getting easily radicallised by an ISIS propoganda video, the battle is already lost...

      Surely we need more effort on preventing radicalisation...

      That starts at school, but unfortunately schools are underfunded and teachers are overworked.

      Then you have the issues of faith schools and illegal schools...

      1. Mike Ozanne

        "Surely we need more effort on preventing radicalisation...

        That starts at school, but unfortunately schools are underfunded and teachers are overworked."

        Wife and daughter both had to do HMG's "Prevent" training. They both thought it was a sack of crap, I borrowed a log-in and had a look, they aren't wrong.... To avoid irritaing muslims they've tied the most dangerous cases to pissed up ex soldiers and smack-using teenage slappers hooking up with combat 18...

        Funnily neither of those two groups were involved in setting up bombs in manchester or stabbing people to death in london..

        As far as "radicalisation" goes, mentally stable people are not radicalised by surfing the net, they need prolonged grooming up by people who know what they are doing http://fathalimoghaddam.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/1256627851.pdf . Unstable nutters OTOH can be lead to violence with a lot less effort, they do tend to be a lot less effective though.

        What would you class as an "illegal" school?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          An illegal school would be an unregistered school, such as the ones mentioned in the article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-36302054

          There are many issues with this kind of school.

  17. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Stop

    RE:The UK is the fifth largest economy in the world.

    tell that to the homeless and hungry

  18. Michael Thibault

    "At the heart of the battle is the fact that governments, faced with continued terror attacks, need to be seen to be 'doing something' in the eyes of the public – but actually hold little power over the tech firms."

    Non-sequitur, there; how much power -- great or small -- is held over a sector of the economy having no direct role or influence in bringing about "continued terror attacks" isn't germane to that matter. The underlying narrative is that circumstances are forcing the government to impose a new tax on the tech firms -- governments are boxed, in other words, and have no choice but to be arbitrary. And in this particular way. Bullshit!

    That aside, more money in the coffers doesn't necessarily mean that the jobs of policing (in the broadest sense) will be carried out more effectively or more efficiently. Machine-gunning legislative incantations everywhere won't necessarily fix the problem of tourist attacks, either.

  19. IGnatius T Foobar
    Linux

    Big taxes for facebook google twitter

    Here in the US the big tech firms such as Facebook have a tendency to rapid-fire publish a lot of rhetoric from the far-left hate group called "the democratic party". They should be fined billions for that.

  20. stuw

    Another option

    The government is fairly limited in what they can do.

    There may be a point in which a small country like the UK decides to put really draconian laws in place against tech companies that they decide aren't worth bothering with due to the cost of complying. If facebook / twitter / google etc withdrew services from a country and banned all IP blocks from it, blaming the government, they may be able to convince the public to "remove the government that banned the internet" (or massively increase VPN use which would also be bad for the government).

    Seeing another country's government get voted out for such a reason could make politicians of other / larger countries weary of trying the same thing again...

  21. This post has been deleted by its author

  22. Barely registers
    Black Helicopters

    Encryption doesn't cooperate

    [TINHAT]

    Is this a smokescreen for dissuading tech firms from offering encrypted end-to-end comms?

    [/TINHAT]

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Encryption doesn't cooperate

      I'm not sure I want my online banking transactions being transmitted in plain text.

      A bonus might be more face-to-face bank branches opening. Though that wouldn't have helped over the last weekend when I was juggling too many balls in the air during the Christmas-NewYear blackout.

  23. James Ashton
    Thumb Down

    Just Like Cars

    This is just like how they tax car companies for the costs of all the traffic cops. And, linking with the terror angle, I propose they up these special taxes on car companies now that the government has to pay for all those new bollards to stop terrorists mowing down pedestrians.

  24. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

    inaction from internet giants means the cost of tackling terror content is "heaped on law enforcement agencies"

    Hmmm... The cost of law enforcement is "heaped on law enforcement agencies". Surely that's not right, is it? I mean, expecting the cost of doing something to be borne by the agency responsible for doing it. Shame on those big interweb companies for expecting the police to do their job!!

    This is like the cops complaining that they have to pay to investigate a burglary. There would be no burglary without houses, so it should be the house builders who investigate the burglars and pick up the costs. If they won't, they should be hit with a burglary tax to cover the police's costs.

  25. inmypjs Silver badge

    "Because content is not taken down..

    as quickly as they could do, we're having to de-radicalise people who have been radicalised. That's costing millions."

    What a load of bollocks.

    If posting shit on the internet really is responsible for "radicalising" then posting opposing shit will "de-radicalise" and posting shit on the internet costs almost nothing either way.

    1. 45RPM Silver badge

      Re: "Because content is not taken down..

      That's not actually true now, is it? Imagine a right wing muppet. You know the sort. Objects to immigration, believes global warming is a hoax, hero worships Donald Trump and Nigel Farage, uses terms like Feminazi and imagines himself terribly witty. Have you pictured the oaf? Excellent.

      Well, said oaf is browsing the internet, visiting all the sort of websites that oafs like him like to visit - dubious subreddits, DonaldJTrump.com, Conservapedia, the Daily Mail, Fox News - and confirmation bias will ensure that he laps up all the bullshit and propaganda. Given that saner minds are unlikely to be browsing these sources, it's highly unlikely that his oafish peabrain will be troubled by an opposing opinion. Even if they did, and supposing they bothered to comment, the old perception filters would snap down to prevent his meagre intellectual faculties from being troubled by something so disturbing as a thought.

      Of course, this applies equally to all the other oafs that you might find on the web. Would be terrorists, for example, and so forth.

      So no. Deradicalisation is far harder, more involved, and costly that radicalisation in the first place. How to deal with it? Unfortunately, I suspect that censorship might have a place (in addition to costly deradicalisation schemes). Because, whilst freedom of speech is a wonderful thing, some thoughts (evidence based scientific research for example) really do have more value than others (racism, sexism etc)

  26. Bucky 2

    I'm confused about the word "uncooperative"

    Does this mean that corporations resist due process, does it mean they're requesting due process, or does it just mean that they simply can't do what the government wishes it could, under the table, for free?

    I don't know how it is in the UK, but in the US, our congresspeople are so rich, they may as well be a different species. Their thoughts and motivations are alien and opaque. They use words in completely new ways, which at first seem to make sense, but fall apart with the barest investigation. At first it might seem that they're idiots, but you don't gain and keep power by being stupid.

    My best guess, under the circumstances, is that when they say "expensive," they don't mean they don't have the money to pay for something. It just means they don't feel like it.

  27. BPeterF

    Good idea as long as its prospective implementation does not spill over into increased opression and persecution of people who are keen to encourage voluntary emmigration (or, if such a prospective policy would fail, then forced removal) to insane Islam/Sharia infested nations of all devotees to the 1. most politically oriented 2. most oppressive 3. most controlling, and 4. most instructive of violence, of all the world’s most widespread theistic ideologies.

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