Police unit set up to combat terrorist websites

Police unit set up to combat terrorist websites

Summary: The team has authority to take down sites providing information helpful to terrorists, and will be aided by reports submitted by the public

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TOPICS: Networking
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The Association of Chief Police Officers has created a new unit devoted to tackling terrorism activity online, accompanied by a Directgov portal for people to report suspected terrorist websites.

The new team, part of Acpo's anti-terrorism Prevent Delivery Unit, can demand that material be removed or websites be taken down if they provide information that could be useful to terrorists or glorify acts of terrorism. The police gained the powers to do this in the Terrorism Act 2006.

The team is part of a government scheme, announced by the Home Office on Monday, that will respond to reports from the public as well as actively seek out illegal material and work with industry.

"The pilot scheme aims to make the internet a more hostile environment for terrorists and violent extremists who seek to exploit modern technology," the Home Office said in a statement.

The associated Directgov page encourages people to consider reporting offensive or suspected illegal material directly to the website's operators before informing the police.

Illegal content includes information intended to be useful to terrorists, such as bomb-making instructions, guides to making poisons or guides to targets, as well as material praising terrorism or calling for racial or religious violence.

Security minister Lord West said the programme was designed to protect the public, as well as giving individuals a way of challenging offensive or illegal material.

"The internet is not a lawless forum and should reflect the legal and accepted boundaries of society," Lord West said in a statement.

The Terrorism Act allows police to ask for material to be removed or altered within two working days. If a content provider refuses the request, this is not an offence in itself. However, it means the provider cannot plead a defence of "non-endorsement" if they are charged with encouraging terrorist acts or distributing terrorist publications, according to the Home Office.

Last year, international-affairs thinktank Chatham House called for a centrally co-ordinated response to cyberthreats, while Lord Ashdown has spoken of the need for an international body to co-ordinate action against cyber-terrorism.

Topic: Networking

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3 comments
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  • Practicing Up for Big Brother.

    Yet another political organization without a freaking clue.

    Set up a website for people to complain, report and rat-out suspected Internet-wise terrorists. BUT first get in contact with the website operator FIRST to make your complaint. Huh? That's only going to work on domestic websites and those in friendly countries, maybe. I'd be willing to bet that the sites that need to be targeted by this DirectGov task-force website aren't going to be found anywhere in the EU.

    What do you do when the website is hosted on the other side of the planet? You think they don't have terrorist-sympathetic ISP's in Afghanistan? In Iran, Yemen, etc. And in dozens of other countries willing to look the other way?

    Yes I think publishing bomb making videos ought NOT to be tolerated. But have these same cops thought about how successful they and other police units are on shutting down porno sites? Gambling sites? Illegal Internet Pharmacies?

    Get mad at your neighbor, report him to the terrorist-web-site police.

    Get rejected by that girl 2 cubicles over at work, report her Facebook page to the website police.

    Get mad at the coppers and fire off a DDOS attack. Claim it all in the name of jihad. Announce it on your website. Send a video tape to Al Jazerra, send them an email while you're at it! Put it up on YouTube!

    Let's see how long the Report-a-Terrorist-WebSite site continues to stay up running once the terrorist-geeks hear about the site.

    Yeah it makes a lot of sense. The only ones that think this idea is worth a damn will be the grandmas it was proposed by.

    Well I suppose ya'll had to have your own version of the Idiot-Patriot Act. Have fun.
    Xwindowsjunkie-e92c6
  • Police unit set up to combat terrorist websites

    I have to agree with xwindowsjunkie. It may look good on paper, but trying to enforce this will be a nightmare. There is too much room for abuse, and misuse.
    ator1940
  • Aye..

    Its not exactly a vote of confidence for the other government run web security portals is it, I know we'll make a website over here fronting that we know what where doing and where on the ball, and then we'll set a second one up over there begging for information because our adopted practices don't quite cut it.

    End result more waisted tax payers moneys.
    CA-aba1d