Met wants owners to shop 'extremist' surfers
LONDON internet cafe owners have been recruited to spy on customers, as part of the Metropolitan Police's anti-terrorism effort.
As yet, the snooper scheme is only on trial at an undisclosed number of internet cafes in Camden, but the BBC reports that if deemed a success, it will be rolled out to other cafes and university campuses across the country.
"If the owner sees people looking at violent extremism they need to know who they can turn to," said PC Jason Beynsberger, one of the officers in the Met's Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) team.
As well as keeping an eye on people as they surf, internet cafe owners have been told by the PVE squad to check hard drives for evidence of extremism.
Police argue that the anonymity offered by internet cafes is handy for terrorists and this justifies the Big Brother measures. Others disagree.
"What is dangerous about this initiative is that it does not just focus on preventing access to illegal material but also material that is defined as 'extremist' without offering an objective definition of what that is," said Arun Kundnani of the Institute of Race Relations.
"It thus potentially criminalises people for accessing material that is legal but which expresses religious and political opinions that police officers find unacceptable."