United Kingdom government could imprison people for looking at terrorist content

Speaking at a Spectator-hosted event at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester this week, Rudd was quizzed by an audience member about a subject that has become something of a bête noire for the home secretary.

It follows a spate of acid attacks in London in recent months.

It is now illegal to download or store images but the government also plans to make it illegal to repeatedly view footage such as ISIL videos or instructions on how to make bombs.

Rudd's longstanding view is that end-to-end encryption - which can not be read by anyone but the sender or the receiver, not even the companies designing the apps - makes messaging apps a haven for terrorists and criminals to plot their acts without risk of reprisal.

The move will expand the existing offense of possessing information likely to be useful to a terrorist so it does not only apply to downloaded or stored information, Ms Rudd's office said.

Whats App is now trialing a business platform that will allow small companies and enterprises a solution for operating at a large scale with a global base of customers, like airlines, e-commerce sites, and banks. Although how exactly investigators would be able to determine that a particular individual has repeat-viewed proscribed content is an open question.

WATCHING streamed terror content on the web will become a criminal offence under a new crackdown unveiled today.


It is understood that journalists, as well as academics and other professionals, who view terrorist content will have a "reasonable excuse" defence for legitimate work.

Following terrorists attacks in the United Kingdom this year Rudd has pressurized Internet companies to do more to remove extremist content from their platforms.

"I do not accept it is right that companies should allow them and other criminals to operate beyond the reach of law enforcement", Rudd said.

Writing in a newspaper article this summer Rudd appeared to claim it was possible for e2e encryption to be compromised without the need for a backdoor.

She added that British security agencies foiled seven terrorist plots thus far in 2017.

Police have said that acid attacks in London were once typically carried out by men against women close to them but are now predominantly used between young males, often in the context of urban gangs.


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