G7 countries and tech giants including Google, Facebook and Twitter, agreed on Friday to work together to block the dissemination of extremism online, Italy announced.

“These are the first steps towards a great alliance in the name of freedom,” Interior Minister Marco Minniti said after a two-day meeting with his Group of Seven counterparts, stressing the importance of the internet for extremist “recruitment, training and radicalisation.”

Officials said the accord aimed at removing extremist content from the internet within two hours of being posted.

Italy has played a major role in training Libya’s coastguard to stop human trafficking in its territorial waters, as well as making controversial deals with Libyan militias to stop migrants from setting off.

Minniti said the G7 ministers had discussed how to go about “de-radicalising” citizens returning from the Daesh frontline, to prevent them becoming security risks in jails.

The ministers had also brainstormed on how to tackle the legal headache of prosecuting returnees, amid questions over what sort of evidence, collected by whom, could be used in a domestic court.

The US and Britain called for more to be done on aviation safety, particularly through the sharing of passenger data.

“Malware of terror”

The Group of Seven – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US – said it had also called on the web giants to work with their smaller partners to bolster the anti-extremism shield.

“IS (Daesh) took to the technology world like a fish to water,” Minniti said, adding that it was time to unleash the antidote to its “malware of terror”.

Rudd said the UK government would do its part by changing the law so that those accessing and viewing extremist material on the web could face up to 15 years behind bars.

But Julian Richards, security specialist at BUCSIS (Buckingham University Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies), said the rest of the G7 was unlikely to get behind her on that front.

“The UK’s fairly hard approach of introducing legislative measures to try to force companies to cooperate… and suggestions that people radicalising online should have longer sentences, are often considered rather unpalatable and too politically sensitive in many other advanced countries,” he said.

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