DCMS – REGULATING ONLINE CONTENT – 8 April 2019
Dr Julian Lewis: The briefing for this statement mentions, correctly, that all five terrorist attacks in the UK during 2017 had an online element, and online terrorist content remains a feature of contemporary radicalisation. Given that some of these companies have created applications with end-to-end encryption that they claim they cannot get into themselves, let alone the security services being able to get into them, what will these measures do to prevent online harm being done through these inaccessible applications?
[The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Jeremy Wright): My right hon. Friend identifies one of the most troublesome aspects of online harm – that encryption is extraordinarily difficult for us to wrestle with. That is of course because there are advantages to encryption, and we use it all the time in our daily lives, but he is right that those who choose to use it for criminal purposes must also be challenged. In relation to this White Paper, I would say to him that harms at the top end of the seriousness spectrum, including the promotion of terrorism, will receive the greatest possible attention from the regulator, and our expectations from the Government will also be higher, hence the Home Secretary’s close interest in the way in which codes of practice are developed, so that online companies are doing their utmost to ensure that this kind of behaviour is challenged.]