June 04, 2017 | Jim Killock

The London Attacks

Open Rights Group condemns the appalling attack at London Bridge; this is not only a violent assault on individual lives but an attack against the freedom and security we enjoy in the UK.

It is disappointing that in the aftermath of this attack, the Government’s response appears to focus on the regulation of the Internet and encryption.

This could be a very risky approach. If successful, Theresa May could push these vile networks into even darker corners of the web, where they will be even harder to observe.

But we should not be distracted: the Internet and companies like Facebook are not a cause of this hatred and violence, but tools that can be abused. While governments and companies should take sensible measures to stop abuse, attempts to control the Internet is not the simple solution that Theresa May is claiming.

Real solutions—as we were forced to state only two weeks ago—will require attempts to address the actual causes of extremism. For instance, both Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May have drawn attention to the importance of finding solutions to the drivers of terrorism in countries including Syria, Iraq and Libya.

Debating controls on the Internet risks distracting from these very hard and vital questions.


Comments (4)

  1. Morris:
    Jun 04, 2017 at 05:28 PM

    Either you are naive or mistaken, I do not believe you are bad people but it's not only extremism of all colours, it's the sickness of Blue Whale and so on that you also unwittingly defend. You are simply WRONG

  2. Filipescu Mircea Alexandru:
    Jun 04, 2017 at 06:17 PM

    I think this beats all previous records: It hasn't even been 24 hours since the attack, and the internet is already to blame, once again for something absolutely unrelated to it altogether. At this point it feels like Theresa May is just standing in front of a TV being "when's the next attack... come on, when's the next terrorist attack" then when it finally happens she's like "finally... see everyone, this is why the internet is bad". Hallucinating times we live in.

  3. Robin Winslow:
    Jun 05, 2017 at 07:55 AM

    I donate to the Open Rights Group because I believe it is the closest thing we in the UK have to a public service pressure group for protection of digital rights - akin to the US's truly excellent Electronic Fronteer Foundation.

    I was of course very disturbed by Theresa May's comments about the Internet and tolerance following Saturday's attack, and so I was understandably thrilled when an ORG blog post on this very topic appeared in my feed.

    However, having read this post, I'm even more concerned than I was. Is this really the best British society can manage to defend digital freedom? I believe this post itself does more harm than good. It acknowledges the need for action against terrorism (giving strength to Theresa May's basic premise), then attacks her in the general sense of saying "she's wrong because of course she is" without providing any real solutions, just saying "please don't hurt the Internet, it's not it's fault, honest guv'nor".

    The follow-up (https://www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/2017/our-response-to-the-london-and-manchester-attacks) is a little better in tone, but is still an extremely weak response. It is more of a musing piece than anything else. It won't convince anyone that the government is wrong, or come anywhere near being the rallying cry we need to truly protect digital rights.

    Where are the facts? Where are the courageous statements about how the Internet is the backbone of our free society? Where are the reassurances that terrorism is, in fact, a minor problem compared to other challenges facing liberal society?

    Compare this to one of the EFF's posts: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/05/while-eu-copyright-protests-mount-proposals-get-even-worse. See the difference?

    What is it that's missing, preventing ORG from being the pressure group it should be? Is it funding for decent journalists, or lawyers, or writers? I wish I understood.

  4. writemypersonalstatement:
    Jun 08, 2017 at 07:56 AM

    Why when happening something with terrorists, government always digress in internet? I thing that they have to focus on solving problems, and not on mems.. I think i have to post research about it))