UK Security Minister Warns: Web Giants Face Tax Raid Unless They Help Fight Against Terror

Chris McAndrew [CC BY 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Internet giants including Facebook, YouTube, Google have been blasted by the security minister of the United Kingdom for making life too easy for extremists and terrorists.

Dubbing them as “ruthless profiteers,” Ben Wallace said that the firms risk a multi-million-pound tax raid if they proceeded to ignore to take down extremist content as well as not being able to block posts that include some guides to making a bomb.

Wallace informed the Sunday Times that Britain is now “more vulnerable than at any point in the last 100 years.”

Wallace said that WhatsApp, a Facebook-owned company, which has rejected to offer access to security services to encrypted messages – some of which have been utilised to co-ordinate terrorist attacks – has set “the internet into an anarchic, violent space.” He added: “We should stop pretending that because they sit on beanbags in T-shirts, they are not ruthless profiteers.”

“Because of encryption and because of radicalisation, the cost of that is heaped on law enforcement agencies… I have to have more human surveil­lance. It’s costing hundreds of millions of pounds.”

The Sunday Times reported that tax raids could be similar to the windfall tax that was levied by the Labour government of Tony Blair in 1997 on privatised utility giants or the raid of Margaret Thatcher on the banking sector in 1981.

Wallace stated: “If they [internet firms] continue to be less than co-operative, we should look at things like tax as a way of incentivis­ing them or compen­sating for their inaction.

“Because content is not taken down as quickly as they could do, we’re having to de-radicalise people who have been radicalised. That’s costing millions. They [the firms] can’t get away with that, and we should look at all options, including tax.”

Despite warning that there are over “considerably more” than 3,000 terror suspects in the United Kingdom, it is considered as a serious risk to the public, Wallace urged that Britons must “go out and enjoy themselves” during the celebrations of the New Year.

He said: “When you’re going out, if you check where the exits are, you are massively increasing your chance of survival if there’s an attack.

“Tell people where you are going and give them your contact details.”

In the wake of a series of terror attacks in the United Kingdom in 2017, Wallace said that the authorities had “invested in a specialist ambulance and fire response so when an event happens they can go right into the hot zone instead of sitting on the outside of cordons.”