Big technology companies criticized following terror attacks
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Big technology companies criticized following terror attacks

Technology companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter have come under fire from the UK government following a spate of terror attacks in the country. As Britons prepare to cast their votes in the general election on Thursday, news headlines are dominated by three terror attacks which took place in London over the weekend, following closely on the heels of the Manchester bombing. Current Prime Minister Theresa May has castigated the “safe spaces” online that allow extremist dialogue to flourish, and pledged to bring the technology companies responsible for them to account.

Google and Facebook have both seen rising share prices this year

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SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

At present, police have issued no clarification as to the role of social media or the internet in the planning of these attacks. Nonetheless, responding to the charge, Google has issued the following statement:

“We are committed to working in partnership with the government and NGOs to tackle these challenging and complex problems, and share the government’s commitment to ensuring terrorists do not have a voice online.”

This is not the first time in recent months that Silicon Valley superstars have come under fire for allowing extremist content to proliferate on their platforms – the British government, under Ms. May, has already been vocal about its concerns. Advertisers, too, have called on Google to eliminate the offensive material from the internet, claiming that it often sours marketing messages.

However, the extent to which Ms. May’s policies are practical is up for debate. Cory Doctorow, writing at Boingboing, criticized the government’s suggestion that working cryptography (the means by which content can be hidden from those that are not meant to read it) should be banned. Technologists broadly agree that there is no way to create “backdoors” to the internet that are useable only by the “good guys” – a point that is particularly salient after the world witnessed its largest ever cyber-security attack last month, which brought the UK’s National Health Service (as well as numerous government and private bodies worldwide) to its knees.

Disclosure

Dominion holds both Google and Facebook in its Global Trends Managed Fund.


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