Theresa May says she will strike 'international agreements to regulate cyberspace' and monitor all communications

The prime minister has been accused of a 'knee jerk response'

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 07 June 2017 11:33
Theresa May: We do need to have international regulations in cyber space to stop terrorism

Theresa May intends to get worldwide governments to regulate and monitor everyone's internet.

The prime minister has suggested that there needs to be "international agreements" to allow intelligence services to read people's private communications.

The plans are part of the Conservatives commitment to regulate the internet if it wins this week's election. Those wide-ranging plans – which include a suggestion the government will decide what kind of news is posted online – were part of the Tory manifesto but have been repeated and become even more extreme in the wake of recent terror attacks.

Ms May's commitment to "international agreements" to regulate the internet came after she was accused of a "knee jerk response" to those attacks. Ms May has laid out a range of plans to respond to the terror threat, including the removal of human rights protections.

Asked whether she was being hypocritical after the Conservatives had accused the Labour government of being too hasty in response to the 7/7 attacks, the prime minister said that such a response was a necessary.

After saying that she would work to get rid of the terrorist "ideology", she said that a global commitment from technology companies and governments to monitor and regulate communications is needed.

"We do need to have those international agreements to regulate cyber space so that terrorists cannot plan online," she said at the campaign event.

The Conservatives have previously said that they want the UK to be "the global leader in the regulation of the use of personal data and the internet".

But the more international tone of the prime minister's news comments appear to be in recognition of the fact that internet companies have said they would be unable to spy on the communications of their users if the British government asked them to, since it would lead them to breaking laws in other countries that require them to make sure their users are safe. Ms May appears now to be suggesting that could be fixed by striking a worldwide agreement to allow intelligence agencies to look at people's online conversations.

Previously she had suggested that she could look to shut down or ban websites and companies that refuse to co-operated, refusing to rule out regulating the internet like China.

Experts have said that the Conservatives plans could actually make life easier for terrorists and end up with people being less safe.

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