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UK Prime Minister calls on internet big beasts to 'auto-takedown' terror pages within 2 HOURS

Anonymous Coward

Why not fuck off and sort out Brexit instead

Dunno about anyone else, but with 20th March 2019 looming every closer daily, I don't think the PRIME MINISTER of all people should be getting involved with frippery like this.

And how will you deal with jihadi material which is photographs of Arabic, given the low value of foreign languages in the UK.

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Re: Why not fuck off and sort out Brexit instead

She always crawls back to security as a diversion tactic. It wouldn't surprise me if it was her handbag left on the M1 the other day.

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Re: Why not fuck off and sort out Brexit instead

Funny how it must be done immediately or even earlier - if it someone else's responsibility.

But when it comes to doing something herself (like set up the child abuse enquiry) - it takes years.

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Re: Why not fuck off and sort out Brexit instead

I doubt that there's any real intention to actually do or have something done about this; it's just a no-lose announcement intended to make the Prime Sinister* look like she cares. When it doesn't work it won't be her fault but that of the tech industry.

First rule of Politician Club: It's never your fault.

* Yeah, I know it's a bit childish but it's a reminder to myself of her enthusiasm and desire for widespread and unrestricted domestic spying powers when Home Secretary.

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Re: Why not fuck off and sort out Brexit instead

Probably plans to make up the government deficit from European trade by fining tech giants as much as possible...

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Mushroom

Prime Sinister

Superb.

Thanks - I'm going to steal that, as often as possible.

Think of it as an indigestion remedy, TM, PS. >>

And do listen to Boris. He may be a clown but he's 20,000 times more capable than you are.

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It makes sense when looking at it from the other side...

... I mean such "Anti-Terror" laws are great for eliminating public outcry about other topics. The public in the UK probably should be on the street demanding better social systems and similar things. With those laws you can simply lock away people you don't like.

This has been done in Germany already at the Anti-G20 protests in Hamburg. Just claim that protesters were violent, surround them so they cannot flee, then arrest them.

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Re: Why not fuck off and sort out Brexit instead

What makes you think Arabic is a foreign language in the UK???

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Re: Why not fuck off and sort out Brexit instead

Yeah, I'm just surprised that she has not banned the sale of Lidl carrier bags while she's at it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why not fuck off and sort out Brexit instead

@LeeE,

First rule of Politician Club: It's never your fault.

Just for the sake of argument, in this particular case, I wonder why anyone would think that the parlous and dreadful state of a lot of ghastly content on websites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc is the fault of the politicians?

Do you think they're the one's uploading it? Or do you think that it's merely a product of that small fuckwit section of in every society who are ill-bred enough to exploit the feeble and near useless sanitisation systems employed by the likes of Facebook, YouTube for their own perverted gratification?

Hint: it's the latter. I agree that those two sets aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. But you know what I mean.

First rule of Politician Club: do not get caught short on Law and Order.

The poor response to the Madrid train bombings cost the sitting Spanish government the general election that followed soon after. They're not exactly doing well in the public eye after the recent outrage in Barcelona. We vote politicians in. We sure as hell vote them out at the first opportunity if the Law and Order system breaks down badly. That a politician's first rule; weakness = lost job, especially soon after a high profile incident.

Turn it round the other way. Imagine if Theresa May said there was no problem with paedophilia, hate videos, extremist materials, bomb building instructions, etc being plastered all over YouTube/Twitter/Facebook/etc? Just how long do you think the government would last? Two weeks? If that? So of course she's going to say the opposite. Every politician worth their salt would do exactly the same.

Arguably one might sustain the argument that the politicians should have seen this situation coming and never let companies like YouTube and Facebook be immune to prosecution. Bill Clinton in particular was stunningly naive.

Had that law never been passed, the companies would have grown up insisting on stronger proof of user ID from the very beginning, so that blame for garbage content could be laid against the true perpetrator (the user) to protect the company. With that in place the user could be effectively barred (no more infinite short lived accounts), and if necessary prosecuted and jailed.

Inevitability: However the genie is out of the bottle, and what we're seeing here is an attempt to put the genie back in its bottle.

It's going to be difficult, but it has to happen; there's a high likelihood that the US presidential election was thrown thanks to crap on social media, and there's little to stop paedophilia being shared on Facebook groups (apparently) or similar. This shit really is not healthy for a settled society. Or at least we vote for and pay politicians to come to these decisions on our behalf. We can't really blame them if that's what they then go and do.

If there's laws to be passed, that's the policians job to decide what they should be. Remember we voted for them specifically to do things like that on our behalf? However, it's not their job to solve how the companies should comply with any new law. That's the companies' problem.

The Future? As it happens I think that we're inexorably moving towards a point where companies like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. can operate only under license (like normal telecoms providers have to), and the terms of that license will require the companies to know the true identity of their users to a standard suitable for use in a court. None of that means that our real names will be plastered all over the Twitter sphere; we'll still have stupid nicknames. Simply that the companies will have to be able to provide the real name of the user upon a request in the shape of a properly issued Warrant.

This is effectively what China has done.

I say this because it's pretty clear that today's technology is utterly incapable of filtering out the shit automatically. This is basically what the GCHQ chappie was saying. The change I feel coming on is the only answer we have to stopping the shit being uploaded in the first place; make it painful / expensive / jail-time for anyone uploading it in the first place. The technology isn't working; change the operating conditions instead.

It'll probably mean an end to the freetard Internet (a financial transaction would probably be required as sufficient proof of ID). Again, not the governments problem, but it would involve a massive change in the business model of vast swathes of the Internet. For a start none of us would tolerate having to pay to use Facebook and also have them trawl through our identifiable information and sell that on to advertisers...

If overseas companies try to provide a service from off-shore, they'll simply make it illegal to advertise on such a service. That would effectively be a formalisation of the YouTube boycott that sprung up recently.

That's the way the wind is beginning to blow. The Internet companies that bend with that and adapt the quickest will be the ones that will continue to prosper.

Economics: Given that ad funded Internet shit costs each and every tax payer in the UK something like £150 a year via the price of goods in the shops (something has to pay for the ads), a paid for ad free Google or Facebook service would likely save us money. £5 a year? Not a bad deal. And with the companies no longer having to have enormous bit barns to do all that advertising analytics they'd save a ton of cash too.

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Re: Why not fuck off and sort out Brexit instead

jihadi material which is photographs of Arabic, given the low value of foreign languages in the UK.

That's how you know it's bad - it's in foreign

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Re: Why not fuck off and sort out Brexit instead

Prime Sinister*

Quite good - only really gets childish if it's overused, otherwise it's a humorous.

I am reminded of Colin Baker as Doctor Who on trial on Galifrey, when he intentionally fudges the prosecutors title (Valyard) (barnyard, scrapyard...).

I'd vary it, (Prime Misery, Prime Monkey...)

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Re: Why not fuck off and sort out Brexit instead

@AC

"As it happens I think that we're inexorably moving towards a point where companies like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. can operate only under license"

Who's licence? America's, Russia's, North Korea's? China's got one, and it's enforced by their "Great Firewall"; is that what you want for every country?

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Boffin

Re: Why not fuck off and sort out Brexit instead

Breaking news from ISO crypto too, NSA has withdrawn a few weak standards

When the United States first introduced Simon and Speck as a proposed ISO standard in 2014, experts from several countries expressed reservations, said Shin’ichiro Matsuo, the head of the Japanese encryption delegation.

Some delegates had no objection. Chris Mitchell, a member of the British delegation, said he supported Simon and Speck, noting that “no one has succeeded in breaking the algorithms.” He acknowledged, though, that after the Dual EC revelations, “trust, particularly for U.S. government participants in standardization, is now non-existent.”

Trust, on the Internet-freedom vs. Terror balance also is tending to non-existent!

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Re: Why not fuck off and sort out Brexit instead

Prime Sinister, not childish, kinda catchy : -) The Cruella DeVille comparison has been made already, 'Prime Sinister' is in the same vein.

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Re: Why not fuck off and sort out Brexit instead

Arabic is a foreign language to those people in the UK who we could actually trust to think that terrorism is a bad thing which should be stopped. I mean, plenty of Muslims hate the terrorists just as much as everyone else, but if we could read people's minds, we wouldn't have a terrorism problem, would we?

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Re: Why not fuck off and sort out Brexit instead

"This is effectively what China has done"

Well, yes, with one minor twist: China is a totalitarian dictatorship, so they use it to prevent people from debating the policies of their government, or even from practicing their religious faith in an authentic manner as opposed to within artificial imitation churches controlled by the government.

Of course, the United Kingdom once forced its Roman Catholics to worship at churches operated by the Church of England instead, on the theory that this was "good enough", and so perhaps the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association may seem less unnatural and offensive in Britain than it does to countries with a strong tradition of religious liberty.

It still hasn't returned all the church buildings and other properties seized by Henry VIII to their rightful owner, the Roman Catholic Church, which is still in business with its headquarters in Vatican City.

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Unhappy

"Prime Sinister"* "First rule of Politician Club: It's never your fault."+

* Nice. Especially as even she (somewhere inside that brain of hers) realizes she will never be able to appoint herself "Lord High Chancellor" as hoped. When she said she expected to carry on till the next election I LOL'd.

You know the back benchers are already drawing the charges against her and Davis for their Crimes against Brexit. Jacob Rees Mogg is probably working on the first draft (along with his acceptance speech of new Tory leader).

+ Excellent point. A good rule that has served many of the spinally challenged members of the political classes.

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Unhappy

Re: Prime Sinister" He may be a clown but he's 20,000 times more capable than you are."

Funny, his Ministry reckon he's pretty lazy and not really too interested in his brief.

IOW he likes the idea of being in charge as long as he doesn't have to do too much actual work, y'know, reading up on stuff and working out an opinion.

But maybe that's just sour grapes from senior civil servants.

Although he didn't see Gove had the knife out for him.

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Big Brother

"I'm just surprised that she has not banned the sale of Lidl carrier bags while she's at it."

Patience citizen, the Prime Sinister has only so many hours in the day.

Rest assured it's on her list.

<signed>

Big Brother.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why not fuck off and sort out Brexit instead

Well observed. Probably this isn't about jihad at all. The word used is "extremist"; like ordinary people not doing what they are told and voting Brexit. It's hard to see this as anything but a push for censorship of political opinion, in the week when the leaders of Britain First were arrested on trumped-up charges when what they did was post a video and send out some leaflets. The censors all speak English. Arabic? Not hardly.

In cases like this, we must always look at what the practical effect is, not what the claimed reason is. The practical effect is a system of censorship, at the discretion of the establishment, of material that they label "extremist". The latter term has no legal meaning, so can be applied as they see fit. How they see fit the leaders of Britain First can tell us.

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Re: Why not fuck off and sort out Brexit instead

Yes. "Extremist" = Anyone who disagrees with the government.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Prime Sinister

>And do listen to Boris.

I did and I cheered when he said, when interviewed over his Telegraph piece, that he would kill himself if the UK pays any money to the EU. This afternoon it was reported that cabinet sources say the T.May would make a generous cash offer to the EU - so perhaps they too wish to see if he keeps to his word...

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Re: It makes sense when looking at it from the other side...

"This has been done in Germany already at the Anti-G20 protests in Hamburg. Just claim that protesters were violent, surround them so they cannot flee, then arrest them."

In the UK it's called "kettling" and is a long standing tradition of the Police.

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Re: Why not fuck off and sort out Brexit instead

"It still hasn't returned all the church buildings and other properties seized by Henry VIII to their rightful owner, the Roman Catholic Church, which is still in business with its headquarters in Vatican City."

Yeah, the church was "nationalised", so maybe it could be sold of to private inverters :-)

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Re: Why not fuck off and sort out Brexit instead

Spain nothing , what about that muslim London mayor that won't call the terrorist muslims when everyone knows they are. Is it because he is one and secretly doesn't care that the native population gets hurt at all because they are not muslims. Its all bullshit like in the US the cities that become muslim all want to switch to Sharia Law and everyone that isn't muslim can suck it. Its an invasion and everyone in charge is sticking their head in the sand and acting like its not.

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Re: Why not fuck off and sort out Brexit instead

That born-and-bred-in-London mayor of London? Luckily he's smart enough to steer clear of labelling terrorists by religion, coz that's exactly what they want. "Muslim terrorists" find it easier to get sympathy from fellow religionists, not least by playing the No True Scotsman card. Instead of focussing on the thing the terrorists have in common with him and 600,000 other Londoners Khan is keeping the focus on how they differ: they're murderous criminal bastard scum.

Just which US cities are lining up for Sharia Law? As opposed to which cities have some idiot agitators engaged in virtue signalling...

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History repeats

Stalin made all locksmiths and lock manufacturers register with the KGB to ensure that the population does not have access to a safe which would give the KGB search team hard time. The official reasoning was to ensure that thieves do not have access to high end tools to pick locks. This is an idea from the same songbook.

It does not work - it affects the legitimate use(rs) and the ones that it is trying to hinder find a way around it.

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Re: History repeats

It does not work - it affects the legitimate use(rs) and the ones that it is trying to hinder find a way around it.

I learned to pick locks entirely because my place of work replaced normal toilet-roll holders with ones in a locked enclosure so that no-one could steal the toilet rolls. I just wanted to be able to free the damn bog paper when it got caught up inside the stupid enclosure.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: History repeats

The toilet roll holders were probably replaced by the contract cleaning company, so that only they can replace the rolls. If you want them replaced more frequently, then you need a more expensive contract.

When that happened in our place, we just broke the locks and put some duck-tape on. Our place was so cheap we were out of toilet paper by midday.

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Re: History repeats

The toilet roll holders were probably replaced by the contract cleaning company, so that only they can replace the rolls.

We haven't outsourced our cleaning, putting the cleaners on worse terms and conditions. We're not complete arseholes.

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Re: History repeats

"We're not complete arseholes."

That's good, or you'd need a LOT more bog roll!

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Facepalm

"Mistakes will inevitably be made"...

Yeah... you're making a huge one right now...

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Anonymous Coward

Cuckoo

that is all

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Yeah yeah yeah - the usual bollocks

This strikes me as typical politician-speak.

As all of us techos know, the first point is to define the requirements:

- What, exactly, is this "stuff we don't like" that needs to be refused, and what are the criteria to be used to judge it before takedown?

- How will we distinguish between stuff posted by "Us" (eg "Look what those nasty Russkies/Norks/etc are doing") and "Them" (eg "Look what those nasty infidels are doing")? Yes, I know that nasty propaganda pieces by either side should be taken down, but I'll lay money that's not how our gummints think...

- What are the safeguards to be put in place, so this doesn't get quietly expanded into other "stuff we don't like", such as posts by subversive El Reg commentards?

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Re: Yeah yeah yeah - the usual bollocks

It strikes me as an authoritarian regime.

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Re: Yeah yeah yeah - the usual bollocks

"Stuff we don't like"? Oh, that's easy. Set up the filters to remove any account with the word 'Conservative' in the name. The bot-writers make it look incredibly simple to identify pro or anti-Drumpf posts - just borrow their technology.

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Big Brother

Re: Yeah yeah yeah - the usual bollocks @batfink

Haven't you got it yet?

Anyone who has the nerve to disagree with the Great Leader is an evil terrorist, guilty by definition of subversion, hate speech .....

Must be neutralised, crushed, re-educated ...

It's the only way to protect our freedoms, our children, our democracy ...

>> PUKE<<

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Re: Yeah yeah yeah - the usual bollocks @batfink

It's the only way to protect our freedoms, our children, our democracy ...

Is Lark Hill. The Wachovskis got it right with one mistake. They kept the Great Chancellor character from the comics as male.

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Please start with all T May utterances

because, by gum, she sure terrifies me. If she wasn't a woman she would be wearing a Joe Stalin moustache by now. She is not called the Pry Minister for nothing.

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Re: Please start with all T May utterances

If she wasn't a woman she would be wearing a Joe Stalin moustache by now

You never know. She may be shaving it.

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Anonymous Coward

"is it really unreasonable to ask them to apply the same techniques to keeping hateful content off the web?"

Because, as you have already been told by a previous commenter on this thread :

Before we get to the "how?". We need to define the "what?".

Now, I am no algo-guru. But my money would be that no matter how many fancy algorithms you throw at it, the "what?" is never going to be something that you can entrust a computer to be able to do consistently without a high degree of false positives.

Hence you are taken back to the realms of "human input". And the question of "who decides?", as already stated by another commenter further up this thread.

You are trying to compare copyright protection to "undesirable content removal". Completely stupid comparison. Different kettle of fish. Being able to identify bootlegged soundtracks on Ewwtoob videos is a mere walk in the park.

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FAIL

"YouTube can automatically and immediately classify a video"

That's kind of the point, they can't do that reliably.

They miss copyrighted material that's been warped slightly*, and on the other side of things, they flag up videos which aren't copyright infringing at all.

Hell, humans have trouble categorising stuff as being about terrorists or freedom fighters**, how do you expect a machine to do any better?

* (for starters, they don't even scan live streams, which is why you see streaming channels like this on youtube playing cartoons all day)

** It depends if you like them or not.

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Facepalm

"If an internet giant like YouTube can..."

Identifying a copyright movie, TV programme or song is completely different from identifying something that might be classified as terrorist content.

No-one has a database off all possible things that a terrorist might say, and how. So unless we can get terrorists to adopt a theme song, by which they must start all videos, it's simply not that easy.

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Obviously this is very much "Oh god think of the children!" territory, buuut...

I don't think that's an unreasonable point of view.

Firstly the technical difficulty doesn't absolve the big social media players from all responsibility for what is put out on their systems. In any event, solving difficult technical problems is supposed to be their forte.

I'm also not entirely convinced about the level of difficulty involved (although IANAE): YT and FB both have "no pron" policies, and it's hard to find much on those platforms (or so I'm told).

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Thumb Down

Re: Obviously this is very much "Oh god think of the children!" territory, buuut...

I did not down-vote the OP, because they asked a valid question out of a desire to know. I did, however down-vote M. Poolman, for ignoring what went before on the same thread and for being and exemplar of Dunning-Kruger ("I'm also not entirely convinced about the level of difficulty involved (although IANAE)").

The "No Pron" "algorithms" referenced are simply a ratio of skin-tones to non-skin colors in the video, combined with "Report Abuse" crowd-sourcing. YouTube could use a similar "algorithm" for terrorist material, but the backlash for taking down every video with people in it might be problematic. Middle Eastern peoples vary in skin tone by a lot (Look up the origins of "Caucasian" and "Aryan" - It ain't Europe).

Between the computer vision problems and the lack of a definition of what "terrorist material" actually is YT relies on the second half of the "algorithm" - The Report Abuse button.

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@Justin Uff

So unless we can get terrorists to adopt a theme song, by which they must start all videos, it's simply not that easy.

That's an excellent idea - and 5 years in chokey if you issue a trrrrrrst video without the song. What should it be? YMCA? Bright side of Life? Sit on my face...

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Anonymous Coward

Even Better.....

Perhaps we need to make all the terrs wear uniforms.... like Antifa.....

The UK already has their bankers in bowler hats, along with uniformed school kids, bobbies and football teams.... why not make the terrorists wear a uniform too?

It would make them much easier to pick out before the next atrocity.

But I agree with the above posters, a theme song would also help.

Prime Sinister May has certainly revved up the old idea machine with this one!

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Mushroom

Vengaboys: Boom boom, obv ;)

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