UK unveils new technology to detect extremist videos online

Ivan Schwartz
February 15, 2018

Speaking to the BBC, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said that she hasn't ruled out the possibility of forcing tech companies to use their technology.

The government gave £600,000 of public funds to the London based ASI Data Science to produce the software, which they say can detect 94 per cent of Islamic State's online activity with an accuracy of 99.995 per cent. "We know that automatic technology like this can heavily disrupt the terrorists' actions, as well as prevent people from ever being exposed to these horrific images", United Kingdom home secretary Amber Rudd said in reference to the new tool.

The British government has unveiled a tool that can accurately detect extremist content and block it from being viewed, the media reported on Tuesday. This is versus the 36 hours or so which is apparently the average time it takes for tech firms to remove such content, which by then would have easily spread to hundreds, if not thousands of viewers.

"We're not going to rule out taking legislative action if we need to do it", she said.

Rudd told the BBC the tool demonstrated that the government's request for a stricter examination of extremist content was not an unreasonable one.

Mrs May has also frequently cajoled internet companies such as Facebook and Twitter to do more to prevent safe spaces online that allow extremism to proliferate. Using advanced machine learning, it analyses the audio and visuals of a video to determine whether it could be ISIL propaganda.

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The Home Secretary and US Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen visited senior executives from leading venture capital firms, asking them to ensure the start-ups they invested in had taken appropriate anti-terrorist measures. "This has to be in conjunction, though, of larger companies working with smaller companies".

But smaller platforms are increasingly targeted by ISIS and its supporters and they often do not have the same level of resources to develop technology.

The company said it typically flagged 0.005% of non-IS video uploads.

The home secretary will also meet with the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, which was launched previous year in the aftermath of the Westminster Bridge attack that left five dead.

However, the bigger challenge is predicting which parts of the internet the terrorists will use next.

Other reports by GizPress

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