The Policy Exchange report on online extremism released this morning is getting a huge amount of pick-up. It concludes:
“The government should consider stronger action to try and limit the demand side of the extremism equation. One potential vehicle for this would be the creation of new legislative offences against the aggravated possession and persistent consumption of extremist material.”
A call for more regulation and a new quango with a helping of censorship on top. Ostensibly, the report focuses on online content that incites terror. The polling, however, canvassed public support for the removal of many different kinds of content. What exactly would the removal of “extreme politics” content involve? Likewise, pornography? Where is the line drawn and by whom?
Ironically, the report confirms that the public think extremist preachers in places of worship are actually a bigger problem than online extremist content:
Nothing proposed by Policy Exchange will stop determined terrorists communicating. Even if terrorist propaganda is driven off mainstream platforms it will still be found on elsewhere on the internet. That is the inherent nature of the internet, unless you want to go down the Chinese commanded and controlled internet path.
Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission is suggesting ‘banning internet trolls from voting’ for making negative comments online. That’s right, the voting regulator is seriously proposing disenfranchising citizens as a punitive measure designed to police their behaviour. This is near totalitarian hysteria…