Tax for failure to control terrorist content

Written by Mark Evans

Security Minister Ben Wallace has indicated that he would consider a tax fine on social media and technology companies that fail to control content with a terrorist message.

The political reaction to such companies forms a growing trend, sometimes called a ‘techlash’ and is in part a concern over the perceived lack of control, but also a fiscal issue as it means governments themselves have to invest considerable money and resources into policing the web themselves. In part Wallace believes that any ‘tax’ is therefore really redressing the balance.

Furthermore, he specially pointed to messaging services such as WhatsApp, for refusing to allow security services access to messages. He noted that whilst such companies would sell on data to third parties they would not give similar information to forces attempting to protect the public.

The UK is now following other European nations in beginning to draft policies around internet misuse and data, starting with GDPR, that will create a significantly more controlled data environment.