In saying this, Hannigan is continuing his government’s resolute denial of the reality of the global jihad. His remarks here are just a more sophisticated way of saying that jihadis were “radicalized on the Internet.” And characteristically, instead of confronting the ideology that the jihadis are taught on the Internet, and asking themselves why Muslims in the U.K. are so susceptible to it after they’ve ostensibly been learning all about their Religion of Peace at their local mosque, they’re going after Facebook and Twitter.
They will learn, probably too late, that Facebook and Twitter are not the cause of their troubles, and that if they develop ways to track jihadis more easily on both, the jihadis will just find other ways to communicate. The real cause of their troubles is an ideology that they have pretended does not exist or does not have nearly the reach, resonance, and roots that it actually does have.
GCHQ is Government Communications Headquarters, an intelligence organization in the UK. “Britain’s spy chief says US tech firms aid terrorism,” by Steven Swinford, the Telegraph, November 3, 2014:
Technology giants such as Facebook and Twitter have become “the command and control networks of choice” for terrorists and criminals but are “in denial” about the scale of the problem, the new head of GCHQ has said.
Robert Hannigan said that Isil terrorists in Syria and Iraq have “embraced the web” and are using it to intimidate people and inspire “would-be jihadis” from all over the World to join them.
He urged the companies to work more closely with the security services, arguing that it is time for them to confront “some uncomfortable truths” and that privacy is not an “absolute right”.
He suggested that unless US technology companies co-operate, new laws will be needed to ensure that intelligence agencies are able to track and pursue terrorists.
His comments represent some of the most outspoken criticism yet of US technology giants by the security services, and come amid growing tensions following leaks by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
In an article for the Financial Times, Mr Hannigan said: “I understand why they [US technology companies] have an uneasy relationship with governments. They aspire to be neutral conduits of data and to sit outside or above politics.
“But increasingly their services not only host the material of violent extremism or child exploitation, but are the routes for the facilitation of crime and terrorism.
“However much they may dislike it, they have become the command-and-control networks of choice for terrorists and criminals, who find their services as transformational as the rest of us.
“GCHQ is happy to be part of a mature debate on privacy in the digital age. But privacy has never been an absolute right and the debate about this should not become a reason for postponing urgent and difficult decisions.”…
Sure, but all three — the GCHQ, Facebook and Twitter — are much more likely to target foes of jihad than its advocates.