UK government enlists public to spot terror Web sites

Web sites will be taken down if their intent is to provide information to terrorists

The U.K. public can report terrorism-related Web sites to authorities for removal from the Internet under a new program launched by the British government.

The program is a way in which the government is seeking to enforce the Terrorism Acts of 2000 and 2006, which make it illegal to have or share information that's intended to be useful to terrorists and bans glorifying terrorism or urging people to commit terrorism.

People can report Web sites on Direct.co.uk by filling out a Web-based form. The form includes categories to describe what's on the Web site, such as "terrorist training material" or "hate crimes."

Content deemed illegal by the U.K. includes videos of beheadings, messages that encourage racial or terrorist violence and chat forums revolving around hate crimes, according to information on Direct.co.uk.

The reports are anonymous and are then reviewed by police officers who are part of the new Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit, run by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). A Home Office spokeswoman said that unit would be responsible for determining the intent of the content posted, which would determine whether it is in fact illegal.

But it begs the question of how, for example, chemistry textbooks published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- which have information on poison and explosives -- could be viewed, said Wendy M. Grossman, a member of the Open Rights Group advisory council and a freelance technology writer.

"I suppose the key is 'intended to be useful to terrorists,' and what they're trying to get at is networks of terrorists who educate each other and their recruits," Grossman said. "Bottom line is I don't believe this effort is going to make us any safer, though it may well turn up a few idiots who get prosecuted for, basically, saying stupid things."

Police should review submitted sites fairly quickly, said an ACPO spokeswoman. If the Web site is hosted in the U.K., police would ask the hosting provider to take the site offline. If a site is hosted overseas, then police would engage private industry and other law enforcement agencies, she said.

The reporting Web site is a sensible idea, but it's unlikely that many people will know it even exists if they come across the type of material the government aims to stop, said Struan Robertson, a technology lawyer at Pinsent Masons.

"I don't think the police anticipate a huge number of submissions," Robertson said.

In October 2007, British police arrested a 17-year-old for possessing a copy of the "The Anarchist Cookbook," a 1970s-era book featuring instructions on homemade bomb-making and other destructive tips.

Last month, a 38-year-old man pleaded not guilty to 12 terrorism-related charges, including four counts of owning information useful to terrorism, according to a BBC news story. One of the counts was for possessing "The Anarchist Cookbook," which is still sold today on Amazon.co.uk.

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Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service

9 Comments

Anonymous

1

Wrong URL

It should be direct.GOV.uk, not direct.CO.uk.

Anonymous

2

Durka Durka

Terrorism is great! Terrorism is wonderful! Long live Terror!

You should all go out and commit terrorist acts! It's great!

Hey! Here's some useful information for all you would-be terrorists: Did you know that you can commit terrorist acts with weapons? It's easy! Just get a gun or a cricket bat or even a kitchen knife and threaten someone with it. See how easy it is?

Long live Terror! Long live the terrorists!

Anonymous

3

Be sure to report Tony Bliar's various terror sites

Tony Bliar has a number of sites, e.g. http://www.tonyblairoffice.org/ http://www.tonyblairfaithfoundation.org/, that glorify his various war crimes and terrorist outrages.

They should definitely be reported on http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/CrimeJusticeAndTheLaw/Counterterrorism/DG_183993

Anonymous

4

reporting goverment sites mayhap?

What is a greater source of terror in britian than the british goverment? I say we get these horrid .gov sites pulled down that promote fear and hate of our fellow man/woman.

Anonymous

5

Overload

Everyone reading this:

1) Find a website or even just an individual web page, preferably a long one that talks about war, or killers, or some other such topic. If you can't find one like that, just find a website that people wouldn't generally know about.

2) Report said site to the link above - even though it's not terrorist related

3) Overload their systems so that the human verification process takes as long as possible, is prone to as many errors as possible and generally can't cope with the workload.

Our government doesn't realise there are more of us than there are of them. Having said that, We The People haven't reminded them of this fact for a long time (and marching on Westminster doesn't count, because they can (and do) just ignore such things).

Anonymous

6

I just reported https://reporting.direct.gov.uk/. I feel it encourages terrorism.

Anonymous

7

I just...

I just reported http://www.number10.gov.uk/ ,after all they did launch an illegal war against a country that has now suffered far more civilian causalities than us... I think that counts as terrorism.

Anonymous

8

Lets Define Terrorism?

noun
the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.

Well there you go.
What is the Taliban's political message? Are they running for some government office or government it self? Are they a political party? I know the Labour Party is, and their political pursuit is intimidation, just look at ALL the cameras. police, security contracts.

I think we should ponder on a few meanings of the words here.

Does our Government have anything to do with FREEDOM FIGHTING?

A Firefighter fights fires.
A Crime-fighter fights crime
A Freedom Fighter? Fights Freedom?

There is non terror other than the fabricated false flags our government have created to peruse their own political gains,

Wake up people.

Anonymous

9

The War on Information

So, terrorist sites, discussion groups, etc. get taken "off the internet" (stupid term - I assume they mean filtered from public access in Britain). This basically results in that information being accessible ONLY to government authorities, but not to the public.

I assume the authorities still want access to those sites, as they might give clues about planned attacks, etc.

We've already been drawn into war, based on information "secret information" which turned out to be false. This seems like just another opportunity for abuse of public trust. Another opportunity to stymie public discussion and wrest away the power of information.

I'm not talking about Joe Bloggs needing to know what terrorist and propaganda sites are out there, but certain people do. Journalists, academics, etc. Those important parts of public society that help us keep an eye on those we put in office. The power is ours, not the government's - we pay their salaries, they work for us. Yet they fail us on so many levels, and need to be constantly held to account.

Government control of information must be resisted. Any attempt to stymie public discussion and scrutiny must be resisted. Information is power, and it must not be removed from the public's hands.

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