Tech giants must do more to tackle online child abuse, government warns

UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid has called upon internet giants do more to tackle online child abuse and has threatened action against those who don’t. Javid says he will “not be afraid to take action” against tech giants if they don’t take further measures to eradicate the growing threat.

The minister said it was his “personal mission” to combat the problem – including the rise of live-streaming abuse – and claimed some of the biggest tech firms aren’t taking the issue seriously enough.

He said (via BBC) : “I’ve been impressed by the progress the likes of Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and Apple have made on counter-terrorism. Now I want to see the same level of commitment from these companies and others for child sexual exploitation.”

The National Crime Agency is reporting a 700% rise in referrals of child abuse images in the last five years, with the NCA also claiming an estimated 80,000 people in Britain pose a sexual threat to children online. The speed of internet connectivity, smartphones and peer-to-peer money transfers are all contributing to the rising threat, the Home Secretary says.

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In a speech, Javid added: “One officer I met during a visit to the NCA’s Child Exploitation Online Protection Command, who had previously worked in counter-terrorism for over 20 years, told me how in all his years of working he’s never been so shocked by the scale of the threat or the determination of the offenders as he is in his current job. The threat has evolved a lot more quickly than the industry’s response and industry has just not kept up.

“So let me say this – I’m not just asking for change, I am demanding it and the people are demanding it too – and if the web giants do not take more measures to remove this type of content from their platforms, I will not be afraid to take action.”

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