Isis and other terrorist groups are winning an ongoing “netwar” against authorities trying to stop the spread of extremist material online, a new report has warned.
Research by the Policy Exchange think-tank found that almost three quarters of the public want large internet companies to do more to find and delete content that could radicalise people.
Another 65 per cent people thought firms were not doing enough to combat the phenomenon and while respondents were split over whether internet companies or the Government should take ultimate responsibility, 75 per cent supported the introduction of an independent regulator.
Three quarters of the 2,000 people surveyed wanted new laws to criminalise the persistent viewing of extremist material online, and 73 per cent thought the possession of propaganda should be illegal.
The Policy Exchange warned that such powers would need to be constrained to avoid “undue infringement of civil liberties”, but called for a new approach to combat the terror threat.
Its analysis found that jihadi content was accessed more frequently in the UK than anywhere else in Europe, with the country in fifth place globally behind Turkey, the US, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
General David Petraeus, the former director of the CIA, said current situation was “clearly unacceptable”.
The retired general, who commanded Nato forces in Afghanistan, said the attempted bombing in Parsons Green underscored the threat generated by instructions and other materials available online.