Home Technology Regulation UK says it has tech to detect 'terrorist content' online

UK says it has tech to detect 'terrorist content' online

The British Home Office has announced that it has developed new technology that will be able to automatically detect what it calls "terrorist content" on all online platforms.

No date was given for rolling out the technology or what it would be called, but a statement, issued along with Home Secretary Amber Rudd (below), said tests had shown the technology in question could detect 94% of propaganda from the Islamic State group with 99.995% accuracy.

The statement also claimed that if the technology was used to analyse a million randomly selected videos, then only 50 would require additional review.

It said the technology had been developed jointly by the Home Office and artificial intelligence firm ASI Data Science and used "advanced machine learning to analyse the audio and visuals of a video to determine whether it could be Daesh propaganda". Daesh is another name for the Islamic State group.

"The Home Office and ASI will be sharing the methodology behind the new model with smaller companies, in order to help combat the abuse of their platforms by terrorists and their supporters," it added.

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The model which has been developed had been trainer using more than 1000 videos made by the Islamic State; since it was not specific to any one platform, it could be used across video-streaming and download sites in real-time.

Rudd was quoted as saying: "Over the last year we have been engaging with Internet companies to make sure that their platforms are not being abused by terrorists and their supporters.

"I have been impressed with their work so far following the launch of the Global Internet Forum to Counter-Terrorism, although there is still more to do, and I hope this new technology the Home Office has helped develop can support others to go further and faster.

"The purpose of these videos is to incite violence in our communities, recruit people to their cause, and attempt to spread fear in our society. We know that automatic technology like this can heavily disrupt the terrorists’ actions, as well as prevent people from ever being exposed to these horrific images.

"This government has been taking the lead worldwide in making sure that vile terrorist content is stamped out."

Rudd is about to visit Silicon Valley to meet the main communications service providers and discuss tackling terrorist content online.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.