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Home Office in the media

This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

Home Office in the media: 1 August 2017

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Leading stories

Home Secretary

Today’s main Home Office-related coverage is focused on the Home Secretary's visit to Silicon Valley and the seizure of child-like sex dolls by Border Force.

Home Secretary's visit to Silicon Valley

The Telegraph, Independent, Sun, Times, Guardian, Mail and PA, as well as broadcasters Sky News and BBC, all report on the Home Secretary's visit to San Francisco to meet tech companies at the inaugural Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism.

The coverage is focused on the Home Secretary's  visit to Silicon Valley to urge Google, Facebook and other social media giants to remove terrorist content from their platforms at the meeting.

In an interview with the BBC, the Home Secretary said the response from tech companies has been very positive and they were working on identifying terrorist content before it has been uploaded onto the platforms.

The Telegraph carries an op-ed by the Home Secretary in which she highlights the government’s support for strong encryption where it is appropriate and the government’s work with tech companies to ensure there is a way for the security services, in very specific circumstances, to get more information on what serious criminal and terrorists are doing online.

The Telegraph’s article on the op-ed states that the Home Secretary has no intention of banning end-to-end encryption, but hopes companies will voluntarily stop using it. The Mail reports that the ability to stop terrorist attacks is being hampered by “end-to-end” encryption, with the Sun reporting the Home Secretary wants a “lawful back door” into encrypted messages between terrorists.

Further information can be found in a blog post by the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism.


Seizure of child-like sex dolls by Border Force

Yesterday, a 72-year-old man was convicted of importing a child-like sex doll at Canterbury Crown Court. This followed an investigation which has led to a jail sentence for one other man and charges brought against a further five.

There is widespread coverage of the conviction with the papers focusing on the revelation that Border Force has intercepted a surge in imports of such dolls that has led to the arrests of dozens of previously unknown suspected paedophiles.

The Guardian and Independent quote Border Force’s Dan Scully as saying that “these items were going to individuals, in many cases, who were committing other offences in relation to the harm of children” and that many of the offenders were previously unknown to police.

The Times, Telegraph, Sun and Mail all lead with the fact that these items are still available for sale on online shopping sites such as eBay and Amazon. The papers note that a “loophole” means it is not illegal to possess the dolls. The Times notes that sellers on Amazon Marketplace do not disguise the purpose of such items and offer “discreet” shipping. The paper adds that Amazon took down one listing when it was highlighted to them by their journalists but left several others.

A number of the papers report there are calls, from both the NCA and children’s charity the NSPCC, for the sale and production of such items to be made illegal in the UK.

More information on the conviction can be found in the National Crime Agency's press notice.

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