New international agreements should be introduced to regulate the internet in the light of the London Bridge terror attack, Theresa May has said.
The Prime Minister said introducing new rules for cyberspace would “deprive the extremists of their safe spaces online” and that technology firms were not currently doing enough.
The Prime Minister made the comments outside Downing Street on Sunday morning in the aftermath of the van and knife attack that saw seven people killed and dozens injured.
“We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed – yet that is precisely what the internet, and the big companies that provide internet-based services provide,” Ms May said.
“We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements to regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremist and terrorism planning.”
The call was one plank in Ms May’s speech following the attack. The Prime Minister also said Britain was too tolerant of extremism and that “pluralistic” British values had to be established as superior.
She warned there was “a new trend in the threat we face” and that while the three recent terror attacks in the UK were not linked by “common networks”, they were “bound together by the single evil ideology of Islamic extremism”.
The Conservative manifesto pledges regulation of the internet, including forcing internet providers to participate in counter-extremism drives and making it more difficult to access pornography.
Ms May’s speech is thought to be the first time she has publicly called for international cooperation in bringing forward more red tape to cyberspace, however.
The intervention comes after the introduction of the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 – dubbed the “Snooper’s Charter” – which expands the powers of spying agencies and the Government over the internet.
The Act, championed by Ms May, requires internet service providers to maintain a list of visited websites for all internet users for a year and gives intelligence agencies more powers to intercept online communications. Police can access the stored browsing history without any warrant or court order.
The PM’s comments come after the third terror attack on the UK in three months. A car and knife attack on Westminster in March left five people dead, while a bomb attack at a concert in Manchester two weeks ago killed 22.