Internet industry experts today said suggestions that the government should expand its monitoring of online content could breach personal privacy rights.
A report looking at what intelligence there was of Fusilier Lee Rigby’s killers before his murder has made a number of recommendations of social media companies, including installing an “automatic trigger” to identify potential terrorist activity and allow authorities to pursue it.
But experts say this is the equivalent of asking telephone companies to listen to phone calls, or the post office to read mail.
Executive director of internet rights organisation Open Right Group, Jim Killock, said:
The government should not use the appalling murder of Fusilier Rigby as an excuse to justify the further surveillance and monitoring of the entire UK population.
The committee is particularly misleading when it implies that US companies do not co-operate, and it is quite extraordinary to demand that companies pro-actively monitor email content for suspicious material. Internet companies cannot and must not become an arm of the surveillance state.
Lee Rigby's stepdad and sister criticised social media companies for failing to notify the authorities of users plotting a terror attack.
ITV's UK Editor Rohit Kachroo looks at the findings of a report into the extent of intelligence agencies' knowledge of Lee Rigby's killers