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France seeks Silicon Valley allies in war on terror

Cazeneuve said he wanted to work together with Internet firms in the fight against terrorism.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve (Source: Reuters photo) French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve (Source: Reuters photo)

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has met with Apple, Facebook, Google and Twitter to discuss ways to thwart terrorists from using the platforms as stages for propaganda.

“We had frank, rich, deep discussion,” Cazeneuve said during a press conference at the French consulate in San Francisco on Friday.

He said his mission was to foster closer relationships with the Silicon Valley titans so online terrorist propaganda could be more swiftly removed or countered with opposing viewpoints.

“We don’t want to have to go through the usual government channels that can take so long; it is important to have direct communication,” Cazeneuve said.

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“I stressed the importance of counter-speech to contradict hate messages and protect the most vulnerable citizens and prevent them from joining in terrorism.”

Apple, Facebook, Google and Twitter executives were invited to a follow-up meeting in Paris in April to delve deeper into the issue and collaborate on a proper code of conduct.

“We are clear there is no place for terrorists on Facebook,” the leading social network told AFP after meeting with Cazeneuve.

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“We work aggressively to ensure that we do not have terrorists or terror groups using the site, and we also remove any content that praises or supports terrorism.”

Cazeneuve said he wanted to work together with Internet firms in the fight against terrorism and that regulation alone wasn’t the solution to the problem.

While he did not call for Internet firms to take on the burden of automatically censoring photos, posts, video or other digital content uploaded to websites, Cazeneuve urged rapid cooperation when it comes to removing terrorist propaganda reported to the services.

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Since the recent terror attacks in Paris, Internet firms have taken to responding to reports of online terror mongering in minutes or hours as opposed to months as had previously been the case, according to the minister.

He stressed that his battle against terrorism was in no way a war on free speech.

First published on: 21-02-2015 at 05:05:55 pm
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