Home Office looks to battle terrorism online

New website allows citizens to report suspicious internet activity to a special police team.

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Reporting terrorist activity online is only a few clicks away with a new Home Office website where citizens can report suspicious activity on the internet.

The dedicated Directgov page sends the report to new national police team within the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Prevent delivery unit.

If the sight "meets the threshold for illegal content" after further investigation, it can be taken down under section 3 of the Terrorism Act 2006.

"Communities have a vital role to play in helping to tackle terrorist and violent extremist use of the internet and we would encourage the public to refer material to the police through this new online reporting webpage," said Assistant Chief Constable John Wright, who is the national coordinator for Prevent.

According to the Terrorism Acts 2000 and 2006, it's illegal to have or to share information deemed useful to terrorists, including instructions on making bombs, poisons and weapons. Content that urges people to commit or support terrorism or that glorifies terrorism is also illegal.

Beyond terrorism, the site gives citizens a forum to report other types of offensive material found on the internet, such as music or videos discriminating against a person's race or sexual orientation.

"This is also about empowering individuals to tell them how they can make a civic challenge against material that they find offensive, even if it is not illegal," said security minister Lord West.

The website also educates internet users about how to protect themselves online with filtering software and how to report disturbing content to a website's administrator.

"Used in the right way the internet is an extremely positive communications tool," Wright said. "However it also means that terrorists and violent extremists can, and do, use it to influence and train would-be terrorists, and to plan their operations."

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