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Google hands UK government Youtube takedown privileges

Government can tag reams of content for inspection
Fri Mar 14 2014, 13:15
The UK Home Office

VIDEO PUBLISHER Google has given the British government "special permission" to flag swathes of Youtube content for possible removal.

According to the Financial Times, Google has handed over "super flagger" rights to the UK Home Office (paywalled) to help it deal with extremism. This means that rather than have to pick out individual videos and ask Google to remove them, it will be able to tag many at a time and ask for them all to be 86'd.

Google has not yet responded to our request for more information, but confirmed the arrangement to the Financial Times and told it that ultimately what is removed will be its decision.

UK security and immigration minister James Brokenshire told the Financial Times that the material is not always going to be illegal, but will be unsavoury. He added that it would not be "the sort of material that people would want to see or receive".

In a statement provided to the INQUIRER, Brokenshire said that around 30,000 pieces of material have been removed in the last four years.

"Terrorist propaganda online has a direct impact on the radicalisation of individuals and we work closely with the internet industry to remove terrorist material hosted in the UK or overseas. The Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU) has already taken down more than 29,000 pieces of illegal terrorist online content since February 2010," he said.

"Through proposals from the Extremism Taskforce announced by the Prime Minister in November, we will look to further restrict access to material which is hosted overseas - but illegal under UK law - and help identify other harmful content to be included in family-friendly filters."

Youtube confirmed that it will remove content that incites violence, and said that while it already does that internally it was glad to offer outsiders mass-flagging tools.

"We have a zero-tolerance policy on Youtube towards content that incites violence. Our community guidelines prohibit such content and our review teams respond to flagged videos around the clock, routinely removing videos that contain hate speech or incitement to commit violent acts," it told the Financial Times in a statement.

"To increase the efficiency of this process, we have developed an invite-only program that gives users who flag videos regularly tools to flag content at scale."

Last year Google distanced itself from the UK, and claimed that as a US company it did not have play by UK privacy rules. µ


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