Britain warned Monday that internet giants could face new laws if they fail to tackle online child abuse content, with up to 80,000 people in the country deemed to pose a threat.
“The threat has evolved quicker than industry’s response and industry has not kept up. I am not just asking for change, I am demanding it,” British interior minister Sajid Javid said in a speech in London.
“I’ve been impressed by the progress the likes of Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and Apple have made on counter-terrorism.
“Now I want to see the same level of commitment from these companies and others for child sexual exploitation,” the Home Secretary added.
Javid wants the industry to block child-abuse material immediately upon detection, help shut down live-streamed offending, and better police online platforms.
“How far we legislate will be informed by the action and attitude that industry takes,” he warned.
The minister revealed that official National Crime Agency figures estimate up to 80,000 people in Britain posed some kind of sexual threat to children online.
Google recently announced the roll out of “cutting-edge” artificial intelligence to help review content, while Microsoft said it “works closely with others in industry, government and civil society to help combat its spread online.”
Facebook responded by saying the exploitation of children online was “a real challenge and one we take very seriously.”
“It’s why Facebook works closely with child protection experts, the police and other technology companies to block and remove exploitative photos and videos, as well as to prevent grooming online,” added a spokesperson for the Silicon Valley giant.