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UK unveils new technology to detect extremist videos online

15 February 2018, 07:20 | Melanie Burgess

UK unveils extremism blocking tool

Britain partners with AI startup to bracket extremist content

The tool was revealed Tuesday by Home Secretary Amber Rudd and will be presented to tech companies in Silicon Valley.

The government gave £600,000 of public funds to the London based ASI Data Science to produce the software, which they say can detect 94 per cent of Islamic State's online activity with an accuracy of 99.995 per cent. Rudd said she was keen for social media companies to adopt similar automated approaches to speed up the removal of terrorist content online.

The tool is intended for use by small companies, which are often heavily burdened with moderation tasks that they may not have the resources to cope with, helping them to remove undesirable content effectively and in good time.

The technology in question was created by the Home Office and ASI Data Science and uses machine learning artificial intelligence to analyse audio and video and determine whether it contains any extremist content.

Mrs May has also frequently cajoled internet companies such as Facebook and Twitter to do more to prevent safe spaces online that allow extremism to proliferate.

"The model, which has been trained using over 1,000 ISIS videos, is not specific to one platform so can be used to support the detection of terrorist propaganda across a range of video-streaming and download sites in real-time," the Home Office said.

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Rudd is on a two-day visit to San francisco meeting with tech giants and USA officials to discuss how to better combat extremists on Internet platforms. "For smaller companies, this could be ideal".

She discussed the new anti-terror tool on her visit during talks with internet service providers in the country as part of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, which was launched past year in the aftermath of the UK Parliament attack in March 2017.

Silicon Valley giants such as Facebook and Google are pouring their own resources into solving this problem, but this tool is at first meant to be used by small companies, and they may one day be forced to use it.

The Home Office estimates that between July and the end of 2017, extremist material appeared in nearly 150 web services that had not been used for such propaganda before.



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