Blocking of extremist material

Blocking of extremist material online in the UK.

Content that incites of glorifies terrorist acts can be removed by the police under Section 3 of the Terrorism Act 2006. For content not hosted under UK jurisdiction proposals exist for sites hosting "extremist" content to be blocked by UK ISPs.

David Cameron MP: But there is a role for companies too. In the UK we are pushing them to do more, including strengthening filters, improving reporting mechanisms and being more proactive in taking down this harmful material.[1]

CTIRU list

A list of sites and search terms provided by the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit are blocked on networks that subscribe to the list, including networks on the public estate. By June 2013 this list contained almost 1000 addresses[2].

In October 2013 the Prime Minister alluded to steps related to blocking online content:

"We have had repeated meetings of the extremism task force [...] setting out a whole series of steps that we will take to counter the extremist narrative, including by blocking online sites.[3]

At the ISPA conference in November, the Home Office's James Brokenshire MP said that an announcement on plans to block online content would be forthcoming.[4][5] This was included in the report by the Prime Minister's Extremism task force[6] in December:

The Task Force has agreed to:
- build the capabilities of communities and civil society organisations so that they can campaign against the large volume of extremist material, including online
- work with internet companies to restrict access to terrorist material online which is hosted overseas but illegal under UK law
- improve the process for public reporting of extremist content online
- work with the internet industry to help them in their continuing efforts to identify extremist content to include in family-friendly filters

In February 2014 the BBC reported[7] that ministers were in talks with commercial ISPs to block access to this material.

James Brokenshire has suggested that blocks would be implemented in the newly ceated UK ISP adult content network filters.

Under the proposed EFT measures, we are looking to further restrict access to illegal content hosted overseas. We are also working with industry to identify harmful extremist material to include within family friendly filters, to try to bring consistency to industry terms of use in respect of extremist content and to make it easier for the public to refer material of concern.[8]

In November 2014 it was announced[9] that all major UK ISPs would be incorporating the blacklist into their filters.

Unsavoury content

In an interview in 2014, James Brokenshire indicated that some content should be blocked beyond that covered by the Terrorism Act 2006 "that may not be illegal but certainly is unsavoury and may not be the sort of material that people would want to see or receive".[10]

YouTube flagging

In March 2014 it was reported[11][12] in the Financial Times that YouTube had given the Home Office “super flagger” (moderation) powers to enable to flag content in bulk to be reviewed for "Terms of Service" violations.

Google have said that its "trusted flagger"[13] tool is available to organisations that flag lots of content (including NGOs) and have a high hitrate for videos that are in violation. The "reporting at scale" is the ability to flag up to twenty[14] videos per report. No additional priority is given to these requests over normal flagging[15].

See also