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UK could make extremist content blocker compulsory

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The UK government has released new software designed to block extremist content online, which it says it could force technology companies to adopt.

Developed in partnership with artificial intelligence developers ASI Data Science, the UK Home Office says the new software has had thousands of hours of Islamic State online content run through it, to “train” it to detect extremist propaganda. The software successfully detects 94 percent of extremist content, according to the government.

The software will be made available for free. Although major tech companies are developing their own tools to detect extremist content, Home Secretary Amber Rudd told the BBC that she has not dismissed passing law to make companies use the government’s software. “We’re not going to rule out taking legislative action if we need to do it,” Rudd said.

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Talk (2)

Richard Downing

Richard Downing

"'Filter' is the internet word for 'Ce..."

Jonathan Cardy

"Finding 94% of known extremist propag..."


United Kingdom
Jack Barton is a staff journalist at WikiTribune where he writes about international law, human rights and finance, whilst covering daily news. He was previously a senior reporter at Law Business Research and has experience covering law and international development, with credits in the Sunday Times, the New Indian Express, and New Statesman online among others. He has an LLM in Human Rights and worked on a UN-funded research project, looking at peace processes.

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Talk for Story "UK could make extremist content blocker compulsory"

Talk about this Story

  1. ‘Filter’ is the internet word for ‘Censor’.
    It doesn’t matter if it is an anti-free-speech politician’s agents who do it, or an AI algorithm, it is still censorship.
    Censorship is the enemy of democracy.

  2. Finding 94% of known extremist propaganda sounds good, though one might make the point that unless Daesh tell us about any content of theirs that we hadn’t spotted there needs to be the caveat that there could be “unknown unknowns” out there. But what troubles me is the potential for false positives, how many things that were not extremist content got caught up in the net, and how does the government propose keeping such software focussed on extremism when the world and her auntie knows how filters and profiling can be retrained or even hijacked by using euphemisms. Including repurposing the filterers words as euphemisms.

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