The U.K.’s big internet service providers, including BT, Talk Talk, Virgin Media and Sky, have agreed to filter out terrorist and extremist material at the government’s behest, in order to stop people seeing things that may make them sympathetic towards terrorists.
The move will also see providers host a public reporting button for terrorist material. This is likely to be similar to what is already done with websites that may host child pornography – people can report content to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), an organization that maintains a blacklist, to which that site could then be added.
In the case of extremist material, though, it appears that the reports would go through to the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU), which is based in London’s Metropolitan Police and has already been very active in identifying extremist material and having it taken down. CTIRU told me in a statement: “The unit works with UK based companies that are hosting such material. However the unit has also established good working relationships with companies overseas in order to make the internet a more hostile place for terrorists.”
Government sources also told me that Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Twitter have agreed to “raise their standards and improve their capacity to deal with this material.”