UK Home Office AI tackles extremist propaganda [Update]

The UK Home Office has announced a new software tool that uses artificial intelligence to automatically detect terrorist content on platforms online, and ideally, remove them before they’re uploaded. The Government plans to distribute the software to smaller companies in order to tackle, more widely, the problem of extremist content propagated by terrorists and their supporters.

In the announcement, the Home Office said:

“Tests have shown this new tool can automatically detect 94% of Daesh propaganda with 99.995% accuracy. It has an extremely high degree of accuracy, for instance if it analyses one million randomly selected videos, only 60 would require additional human review. The tool can be used by any platform, and integrated into the upload process, so that the majority of video propaganda is stopped before it ever reaches the internet.”

The software was developed in collaboration between the Home Office and ASI Data Science. It uses advanced machine learning in order to analyse the audio and visual data from content uploaded to the net and determines whether it could be ISIS propaganda. The technology is similar to that which the major tech companies already employ; with the software that the Government has developed, small companies, who don’t have the resources, will also be able to block propaganda.

The UK Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, said:

“The purpose of these videos is to incite violence in our communities, recruit people to their cause, and attempt to spread fear in our society. We know that automatic technology like this, can heavily disrupt the terrorists’ actions, as well as prevent people from ever being exposed to these horrific images.”

Several companies identified that could benefit from the newly developed software include Vimeo; Telegram’s publication platform, Telegra.ph; and pCloud.

Update: Andrey Yanakov, Partner Program Manager and Lead Marketing Strategist at pCloud reached out to us with the following statement:

"At pCloud, we do our utmost best to prevent the use of our services for illegal, abusive, obscene and harmful purposes. This includes extremism content, and in particular - Daesh propaganda. In fact, we have not received any major reports of such content being transmitted via the pCloud services. We have implemented solutions, which detect such content and remove it from the platform.

If we find out that someone is using the pCloud services to transmit such content, we immediately undertake the appropriate measures to stop it. This may also include cooperating with law enforcement authorities in prosecuting users who breach our Terms and Conditions."

Source: UK Home Office via The Guardian

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