In a statement following a meeting of the Cabinet Office Briefing Room, known as COBRA, May said regulations are needed to deny space for extremism.
It comes in the wake of two terrorist attacks in the space of two weeks – in London Bridge on Saturday and in Manchester on May 22 – which followed a deadly assault on Parliament in March.
“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,” May said.
“We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements to regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremism and terrorism planning,” she added.
Civil rights activists, however, warned such powers could have the opposite effect.
“If successful, Theresa May could push these vile networks into even darker corners of the web, where they will be even harder to observe,” ORG director Jim Killock told the Independent on Monday.
“But we should not be distracted: the internet and companies like Facebook are not a cause of this hatred and violence, but tools that can be abused.
“While governments and companies should take sensible measures to stop abuse, attempts to control the internet is not the simple solution that Theresa May is claiming.”
I’m proud to have worked @OpenRightsGroup with this heartfelt honest response to an attack so close to my old office https://www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/2017/our-response-to-the-london-and-manchester-attacks …
Our response to the London and Manchester Attacks
Some of you will know that ORG for many years had our offices in Borough. It was a daily occurrence for us until summer 2016 to walk and to eat in the places where where Saturday’s appalling events…
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron also hit back at May’s plans, comparing them to those in authoritarian regimes like China and North Korea…