UK online terror viewers to face up to 15 years in jail
The U.K. will introduce a prison sentence to those who constantly check online terrorism material under a soon-to-be-updated counterterrorism law, British Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced Tuesday.Rudd also called on Internet firms and social media platforms to "act now" and remove extremist content online in a speech before the Conservative Party autumn conference.
"The government intends to change the law, so that people who repeatedly view terrorist content online could face up to 15 years behind bars," a government statement providing details for Rudd's proposal said Tuesday.
Under current U.K. counterterrorism law, charges can be brought against those who download, store or print any such content.
The change of the law around "the viewing of terrorist material comes as part of a wide-ranging review of the government's counter terrorism strategy, following this year's terror attacks, and will help provide an important and effective way of intervening earlier in an investigation and disrupting terrorist activity."
The statement said the legal changes will increase the maximum penalty from 10 to 15 years "to reflect the seriousness of the offence and ensure perpetrators are locked up for longer".
Under the proposed changes, the maximum penalty will also be applicable to "terrorists who publish information about members of the armed forces, police and intelligence services for the purposes of preparing acts of terrorism".
The statement added that "a defence of 'reasonable excuse' would still be available to academics, journalists or others who may have a legitimate reason to view such material," added the statement.
In addition, Rudd told the party conference that the government will ban the sale of acids to anyone under the age of 18.
The number of assaults using corrosive substances (also known as acid attacks) has more than doubled in England since 2012.
Rudd also said the sale of sulphuric acid, which can be used in explosive-making, would be drastically limited.
Britain has been on high alert following four terror attacks in London and Manchester this year which resulted in 36 deaths.
Since May, the terror threat level in the country was twice raised to "critical", which means an attack is imminent.