Isabel Hardman Isabel Hardman

Ministers to unveil counter- terror laws

Today is the day ministers set out their new counter-terrorism legislation following Theresa May’s revelations on Monday about the number of thwarted terror attacks and yesterday’s publication of the ISC report into the murder of Lee Rigby.

The new laws will include obligations for schools and universities to combat extremism but there is also a strong possibilities that internet companies will find legislation telling them what to do. Yesterday Facebook insisted it was taking tackling terrorism seriously but today Justice Minister Simon Hughes dropped a strong hint that these tech companies may find it set out for them quite clearly what the government considers to be a serious approach to terrorism. He said:

‘My view is yes. The legislative requirement for them to do so doesn’t yet exist. And therefore we are trying to make sure that we do get companies like that into a position that they understand their obligation but also understand where they have to do something about it. I don’t think there would be any dispute about the fact that when people exchange information that suggests they’re going to attack anybody and kill anybody that’s something of interest to the authorities.’

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Richard Barrett, former Director of Global Counter Terrorism Operations at MI6, certainly thinks that’s right, telling the Today programme that it wasn’t fair to expect the companies to decide what they were supposed to do.

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