LONDON (Reuters) – Britain might impose new taxes on tech giants like Google and Facebook except they do extra to fight on-line extremism by taking down materials geared toward radicalizing individuals or serving to them to arrange assaults, the nation’s safety minister mentioned.
Ben Wallace accused tech corporations of being glad to promote individuals’s information however to not give it to the government which was being compelled to spend huge sums on denationalization packages, surveillance and different counter-terrorism measures.
“If they continue to be less than co-operative, we should look at things like tax as a way of incentivizing them or compensating for their inaction,” Wallace advised the Sunday Times newspaper in an interview.
He accused the tech giants of placing non-public revenue earlier than public security.
“We should stop pretending that because they sit on beanbags in T-shirts they are not ruthless profiteers,” he mentioned. “They will ruthlessly sell our details to loans and soft-porn companies but not give it to our democratically elected government.”
Britain suffered a collection of assaults by Islamic extremists between March and June this 12 months that killed a complete of 36 individuals.
Two concerned autos ramming individuals on bridges in London, adopted by attackers stabbing individuals. The deadliest, a bombing at a concert within the northern metropolis of Manchester, killed 22 individuals.
Following the second bridge assault, Prime Minister Theresa May proposed beefing up laws on our on-line world, and weeks later inside minister Amber Rudd traveled to California to ask Silicon Valley to step up efforts in opposition to extremism.
The Sunday Times quoted Wallace as saying that reliance on the web made Britain weak to terrorists and rogue states.
“That’s what keeps me awake at night. We are more vulnerable than at any point in the last 100 years,” he mentioned.
Tech corporations have made life too simple for attackers by refusing to take down extremist materials and bomb-making guides, the minister mentioned. Encrypted messaging providers like WhatsApp had been additionally a significant drawback, he mentioned.
“I have to have more human surveillance. It’s costing hundreds of millions of pounds,” Wallace mentioned.
“Because content is not being taken down as quickly as they could do, we’re having to de-radicalise people who have been radicalised. That’s costing millions. They can’t get away with that and we should look at all the options, including tax.”
Wallace’s quotes didn’t give additional particulars on tax plans. The Sunday Times reported that any demand would take the type of a windfall tax just like that imposed on privatized utilities by former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government in 1997.
Reporting by Estelle Shirbon, enhancing by Larry King