Counter-Extremism Strategy

At Ninestiles School in Birmingham on 20th July 2015, Prime Minister David Cameron set out his plans to address extremism. This part of a series of steps the Conservative Government has announced it will be taking to respond to ISIL.

The sections of particular interest to Open Rights Group in the speech 2013 are in relation to Internet companies, and free expression.

The talk did not set out set out the practical details, but intended to cover the principles behind the Conservative Government's Counter Extremism Strategy.

Internet Companies

“And we need our internet companies to go further in helping us identify potential terrorists online.

“Many of their commercial models are built around monitoring platforms for personal data, packaging it up and selling it on to third parties. And when it comes to doing what’s right for their business, they are happy to engineer technologies to track our likes and dislikes. But when it comes to doing what’s right in the fight against terrorism, we too often hear that it’s all too difficult.”[1]

“Well I’m sorry – I just don’t buy that.

“They – the internet companies - have shown with the vital work they are doing in clamping down on child abuse images that they can step up when there is a moral imperative to act. And it’s now time for them to do the same to protect their users from the scourge of radicalisation."[2]

Free expression

"And as we do all of this work to counter the Islamist extremist ideology, let’s also recognise that we will have to enter some pretty uncomfortable debates – especially cultural ones. Too often we have lacked the confidence to enforce our values, for fear of causing offence.

"We need to put out of action the key extremist influencers who are careful to operate just inside the law, but who clearly detest British society and everything we stand for. "

"As I said, this is not about clamping down on free speech. It’s just about applying our shared values uniformly."[3]


David Cameron ended the speech by saying:

"We need the police to step up and not stand by as crimes take place. We need universities to stand up against extremism; broadcasters to give platforms to different voices; and internet service providers to do their bit too. Together, we can do this."[4]


  1. Extremism: PM speech, 20 July 2015
  2. Extremism: PM speech, 20 July 2015
  3. Extremism: PM speech, 20 July 2015
  4. Extremism: PM speech, 20 July 2015