In a move designed to tighten laws tackling extremism, people who watch terrorist material online could face up to 15 years behind bars, UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced.
The new law will extend an existing ban on possessing and downloading terrorist propaganda on a PC to repeatedly watching it through sites like YouTube, Rudd said Tuesday.
“I want to make sure those who view despicable terrorist content online including [extremist] websites, far-right propaganda and bomb-making instructions face the full force of the law,” she said on the sidelines of the Conservative Party’s annual conference in Manchester.
“Changes will enable police and the security service to keep pace with modern patterns of internet use and intervene earlier in an investigation given the speed with which online radicalization is taking place.”
The move comes as the Home Secretary stepped up her calls for internet giants such as Facebook and Google to do more to tackle extremism on the internet.
She criticized technology firms for developing encrypted software that has prevented authorities from reading terrorists’ and criminals’ messages.
“The tech giants need to step up and do more, take a moral responsibility for the fact their platforms are being used in this way,” she said. “Businesses are developing models that keep security services at bay and that is unacceptable.”
Since September 1, 2016, supporters of the Daesh terrorist group (ISIL) have published nearly 67,000 tweets in English, promoting links to their propaganda on a range of online platforms.