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British PM Theresa May suggests increased internet regulation in wake of London terror attack

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Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a statement Sunday outside 10 Downing Street in central London, following the terror attack Saturday.\nMay said that increasing internet regulations would to reduce the "risks of extremism" online. (Getty Images)

British Prime Minister Theresa May released a statement Sunday calling for increased internet regulations in response to Saturday's terror attacks in London where three Islamic terrorists killed seven and wounded 48.

May, after describing the attack, and congratulating London police for the eight-minute response time, discussed how the British people were going to defeat this "ideology that is a perversion of Islam."

"It will not be defeated through the maintenance of a permanent, defensive counter-terrorism operation, however skillful its leaders and practitioners," May said. "It will only be defeated when we turn people’s minds away from this violence — and make them understand that our values — pluralistic, British values — are superior to anything offered by the preachers and supporters of hate."

Defeating the radical ideology, May said, will require acknowledging that the attacks are fueled by Islamic extremism; destroying the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria; fighting extremism in the U.K.; and increasing surveillance. May also said that increasing internet regulations would to reduce the "risks of extremism" online.

From gov.uk:

Second, 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. We need to work with allied, democratic governments to reach international agreements that regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremism and terrorist planning. And we need to do everything we can at home to reduce the risks of extremism online.

The idea of enacting more internet restrictions is not a new plan for May and the Tory Party. In the 2017 Tory Party manifesto, the party said that internet content should be controlled.

"Some people say that it is not for government to regulate when it comes to technology and the internet," the manifesto said. "We disagree."

Currently, British law requires internet connection records and communications data be kept for up to a year by internet service providers so that British authorities may access these records more easily. This means that the web history of every citizen in the U.K. is accessible to the government when the government deems it necessary.

The manifesto said that the party sought to make Britain "the global leader in the regulation of the use of personal data and the internet." When it comes to terrorism, the manifesto stated that it will leave no "safe space for terrorists to be able to communicate online."

While the manifesto does list stopping terrorist activity as one of the goals of their internet regulation, it also lists the restriction of access to pornography, and places that propagate hate speech. This includes restrictions on what people can post on social media, according to Tory Party sources interviewed by BuzzFeed. In the United States, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act allows the government to access the records of foreign individuals in the country, but not spy on domestic citizens.

This social media crackdown also includes the restriction of the dissemination of "fake news." According to the Telegraph, by last month Facebook had already deleted thousands of U.K. accounts in an attempt to stem the tide of "fake news."

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