British prime minister David Cameron has said he wants to expand internet censorship in the U.K. to block “extremist” Islam sites, in an effort to counter the spread of Muslim terrorism.
Cameron discussed the plan in an answer to a question he was asked in parliament, according to Hansard, the official transcript of debates inside the House of Commons. The plan has received virtually no media coverage in the U.K.
Cameron has repeatedly said he wants to change British law to censor more of the internet.
Recently, he announced plans to create a new law that would punish the possession of pornography depicting rape — real or fictional — with three years in prison. Earlier this year he drew up plans to require Britons to register with their internet service provider if they wanted to watch adult entertainment.
On Oct. 23, Labour Party MP Paul Goggins asked Cameron what he was doing to combat terrorism on U.K. soil. Cameron gave this answer:
We have put in place some of the toughest controls that one can possibly have within a democratic Government, and the TPIMs are obviously one part of that. We have had repeated meetings of the extremism task force — it met again yesterday — setting out a whole series of steps that we will take to counter the extremist narrative, including by blocking online sites. Now that I have the opportunity, let me praise Facebook for yesterday reversing the decision it took about the showing of beheading videos online. We will take all these steps and many more to keep our country safe.
“TPIM” is a reference to terrorism prevention and investigation measures, which are legal orders that the British authorities can obtain to control or restrict the movement of individuals who have not been charged with crimes. Measures include electronic tagging, reporting to the police, and restrictions on travel.
No other details were given (the next question Cameron answered was on a different topic). So it is not clear how the government would define “extremist,” how the blocking might occur, or who would be in control of the definition of “extremism.”