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The return of the board game – Tech Weekly podcast
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(Tue, 25 Nov 2014 19:58:49 GMT)
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Facebook accused of failing to flag extremist messages by Lee Rigby's killer
(Tue, 25 Nov 2014 19:09:29 GMT)

Report by MPs says intelligence services could not have prevented 2013 Woolwich killing of fusilier by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, but internet company should have alerted authorities to extremist messages

The intelligence and security committee behind today’s report has allowed its attention to wander into more speculative territory rather than on focusing on a critical period of missed opportunities to potentially stop Lee Rigby’s killers, according to a Guardian editorial.

It adds that while a US internet company, understood to be Facebook, has become the “new fall guy” in the case, the failure to to prevent the killers “does not lie with that company’s understandable caution about allowing a foreign government to trawl through its accounts and data”.

The bleak truth is that it’s possible nothing would have saved Lee Rigby from his awful fate. Some suggest fresh UK government powers to demand information from American and other firms are the answer.

But first the UK authorities would have to prove that they have used the powers they already have wisely and that those powers have been exhausted. We are not at that point.

MPs on the intelligence and security committee have published their report on the dealings of the security services with the killers of Lee Rigby, the soldier killed on the streets of Woolwich last year.

This is the single issue which – had it been known at the time – might have enabled MI5 to prevent the attack.

We don’t comment on individual cases but Facebook’s policies are clear: we do not allow terrorist content on the site and take steps to prevent people from using our service for these purposes.

The truth is this: terrorists are using the internet to communicate with each other. We must not accept that these communications are beyond the reach of the companies.

We expect the internet companies to do all they can … It is their social responsibility to act on this.

An evening reading list if you’re just catching up with this story:

My colleague James Ball has been drilling into the detail of the ISC’s 200-page report on the murder of Lee Rigby. There are, he says, “a number of quite jarring points that emerge, some of which challenge the narrative set out by the committee and the UK intelligence agencies on mass-surveillance efforts”.

A spokesperson for Facebook has given the Guardian this statement on claims that it is the company accused in the ISC report of failing to pass on information about extremist messages sent by Michael Adebowale:

Like everyone else, we were horrified by the vicious murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby.

We don’t comment on individual cases but Facebook’s policies are clear: we do not allow terrorist content on the site and take steps to prevent people from using our service for these purposes.

More on the news that Facebook is the previously unnamed internet company accused by the ISC today of failing to pass on information about one of Lee Rigby’s killers.

Alex Hern reports:

Facebook is the internet company accused by the intelligence and security committee (ISC) of failing to pass on information that could have prevented the murder of Lee Rigby, the Guardian understands.

The ISC investigation found that one of Rigby’s killers, Michael Adebowale, conducted an online exchange detailing his desire to murder a soldier ‘in the most graphic and emotive manner’ with a known terrorist, five months before the attack, yet did not directly name the company concerned.

Facebook is the internet company accused by the Intelligence and Security Committee of failing to pass on information which could have prevented the murder of Lee Rigby, the Guardian understands.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the case is the role of the overseas intelligence agency MI6, referred to in the report, SIS (the Secret Intelligence Service) and a trip made by Adebolajo to Kenya, reports Ewen Macaskill:

While the committee opted against placing blame on the intelligence agencies, it had no such reservations with regard to an unnamed internet provider which is the object of scathing criticism, Ewen Macaskill reports:

You can read the latest Guardian report on today’s developments here.

While the internet companies mentioned in the report (the firm at the centre of the claim that it should have intervened on Adebowale’s messages is unnamed) have not commented on the ISC findings – Facebook is the latest to tell the Guardian it won’t be making a statement – others in the field are pushing back at the recommendation that online activity ought to be more rigorously policed by service providers.

Antony Walker, deputy CEO at techUK, the industry body, said:

Tech companies take their security responsibilities incredibly seriously. Companies have taken significant steps to be transparent with the public about how they work with law enforcement and security agencies by publishing regular transparency reports. These reports make it clear that tech companies do engage with law enforcement and security agencies in the course of terrorist and other investigations and that the level of cooperation is undiminished …

There are real legal challenges of jurisdiction where companies operate outside the UK jurisdiction and complying with UK law could put companies at risk of contravening their own domestic law. The only way to address these issues is by brokering diplomatic agreements and processes between governments. The report rightly focuses on the importance of the mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) process for providing a legal framework that enables companies based outside the UK to respond to access to data from UK agencies without the risk of contravening their own domestic law. This is best achieved diplomatic negation between national governments and in consultation with companies and other stakeholders …

Ewen MacAskill, the Guardian’s defence and intelligence correspondent, has been combing the ISC report and sends this dispatch on what it has to say about the way the security services dealt with Adebolajo and Adebowale when evidence of their extremism emerged ahead of the murder.

The report praises the agencies for protecting the UK from a number of terrorist plots, averaging about one or two serious intended attacks a year:

Nevertheless, when there is a terrorist attack, it is essential that there is a thorough investigation to establish whether mistakes have been made and to ensure that any lessons are learned.

Whilst we have concluded that the errors identified would not, individually, have affected the outcome, we have also considered whether there was a cumulative effect – i.e. whether, taken together, they might have made a difference. We do know that they would have led to different investigative decisions.

However, it is impossible to conclude that those changes – all dependent on one another – would have resulted in MI5 discovering evidence of attack planning. We do not consider that, given what the agencies knew at the time, they were in a position to prevent the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby.

MPs on the intelligence and security committee have published their report on the dealings of the security services with the killers of Lee Rigby, the soldier killed on the streets of Woolwich last year.

This is the single issue which – had it been known at the time – might have enabled MI5 to prevent the attack.

The truth is this: terrorists are using the internet to communicate with each other. We must not accept that these communications are beyond the reach of the companies.

We expect the internet companies to do all they can … It is their social responsibility to act on this.

Hazel Blears, Labour MP and a member of the intelligence and security commitee that produced this morning’s report, is talking to BBC News about the extremist online messages sent by Adebowale before the murder:

If we’d have had that earlier, that could have made a difference.

It is possible [to monitor every conversation] … when a key word comes up, that can alert the system that something needs to be examined.

Renate Samson, chief executive of Big Brother Watch, which campaigns for online privacy, is unimpressed by David Cameron’s commitment to further moves to allow intelligence agencies more access to online communications:

The conclusion that a failing of an unnamed technology company should determine future legislation, whilst the catalogue of errors by the intelligence agencies is all but excused, is of grave concern.

The report revealed multiple failures by the intelligence agencies to use the powers available to them to monitor communications. The government should use this report as a blueprint to re-evaluate the decision-making and record-keeping processes of the intelligence agencies, as well as the training and resources allocated within the counter terrorism community.

Haroon Siddique reports from Woolwich, the site of Lee Rigby’s murder.

Woolwich resident Beverly Smith, 60, pictured below, was sceptical of the claims that the intelligence services could not have done more to prevent the murder.

‘I think the intelligence services know a lot more than they let on to the general public. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had information [about the killers].

Another Woolwich resident, 62-year-old Christy, who did not wish to give her surname, had strong feelings about what she perceived to be the intelligence services failures in the case.

‘If they knew these boys were extremists, preaching against other people and they had them on record, they could have prevented it. People like that should be monitored every minute.

The Guardian’s technology reporter Samuel Gibbs has been researching how US-based internet firms deal with requests from the UK government for information. Most US technology companies detail their responses to law enforcement requests for user data in their transparency reports, including UK government requests, he reports.

Between January and June 2014 the technology companies specifically mentioned in the ISC report gave the following information:

Murithi Mutiga reports from Kenya on claims that Michael Adebolajo was tortured there after his arrest on terrorism charges:

A spokeswoman for the Kenya police, Zipporah Mboroki, denied claims that Adebolajo was ill-treated while in custody.

‘We do not torture suspects. Adebolajo was arrested while trying to cross into Somalia and we handed him back to the British authorities in good faith. Britain is our partner in the war against extremism and we cannot discuss the circumstances under which he was sent back to London.’

Cameron, still speaking in the Commons, says he does not believe it is acceptable that there should be internet communications that authorities are not permitted to intercept. The government should legislate on this, he adds.

What was the role of the unnamed internet company in failing to identify the messages sent by Adebowale before the murder?

David Cameron revealed that the messages only came to light after the attack “as a result of a retrospective review by the company”. Sir Malcolm Rifkind, chair of the ISC. said the information was given to GCHQ “by a third party” on a confidential basis.

The Lee Rigby murder doesn’t justify an extension of internet snooping powers, argues Charles Arthur in this article for Comment is Free. There do appear to have been failings by the unnamed internet company:

Adebowale had four out of seven internet accounts at one provider automatically closed over suspected terror-related activity; yet none was reviewed by a human. That’s a clear failure to link the action – closing an account – and the reason.

If the UK can demand access to the contents of internet accounts – even where the data is stored overseas – of people in the UK, why shouldn’t Russia demand exactly the same of Britons who happen to be in Russia? Why shouldn’t border guards in China demand access to your hard drive as you get off the plane in Shanghai? What’s to stop Iran insisting on the decryption keys to any internet service that wants to connect its citizens?

The current system is a mess – but making it easier for MI5 to get hold of our emails won’t actually make us any safer. Better work by the intelligence agencies will. As the report shows, they had plenty of opportunity to focus on the murderers.

Labour MP Hazel Blears, another member of the ISC, now asks in the Commons about cuts to the Prevent programme, which is failing to avert extremism, she says.

The Prevent programme needs to no longer be the “soft, fluffy end” of counter-terrorism, she says.

Another ISC member, Julian Lewis, a Tory MP, earlier condemned leaks to the media of some of the committee’s findings, anticipating that the report would support greater powers on communications data. Lewis said: “Nothing in our report is relevant to that argument.”

Lewis now raises the issue in the Commons. Cameron agrees with him that such leaks are “particularly reprehensible”.

ISC member and Liberal Democrat MP Sir Ming Campbell has just spoken in the Commons – he talked to my colleague Vikram Dodd earlier and said any attempt by the government to use the committee’s findings to support greater communications data powers should be resisted:

It is a remarkable coincidence, some might say, that the home secretary should have chosen to make public her further proposals on the eve of the publication of the ISC report.

No doubt the purpose of doing so was to link her proposals to the committee’s conclusions. The committee never considered those proposals.

Cameron says the family of Lee Rigby can ask for meetings with whomever they want to speak to in the wake of the report, and they will get them.

If internet companies provide services in the UK, they should be subject to UK law, Cameron says.

He says internet companies worry about their public image in terms of the privacy of their users, but they ought to worry about their public image if they’re being used by terrorists to plot attacks.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who unveiled the report this morning, is speaking in the Commons now.

He says none of the redactions in the report would affect the conclusions and recommendations.

Cameron welcomes the collaborative tone of Miliband’s response; the Labour leader said the government would have the full support of the opposition.

He says the government is pushing for internet companies to agree a set of procedures for identifying and reporting online extremism.

Cameron rightly raised the issue of internet companies, Miliband says.

Part of the problem is that there are no agreed set of procedures for companies, he says. For online child abuse, there are such procedures – should something similar be agreed for extremism, Miliband asks.

Cameron concludes. Ed Miliband pays tribute to Lee Rigby.

He says criticisms of the agencies in the report need to be understood in the light of the pressures they face in preventing threats.

Cameron says he will toughen up guidance for security services in the treatment of terrorism suspects overseas and how it partners foreign intelligence services.

Cameron says the government is introducing new powers to remove passports from extremists and prevent terrorists from returning to Britain from overseas.

On internet companies, Cameron cites the report’s claim that Adebowale’s online exchanges could have been crucial to preventing the attack.

The information came to light after the attack “as a result of a retrospective review by the company”.

There is much further to go … The truth is this: terrorists are using the internet to communicate with each other.

We must not accept that these commucications are beyond the reach of the companies.

Cameron moves on to how agencies prioritise the various threats against the country. At the time of the Woolwich attack, MI5 was monitoring hundreds of potential threats.

The two killers were known to the services, however. The report makes recommendations on how agencies should improve its tactics on “self-starting terrorists” - an extra £130m will be available over the next two years to monitor and disrupt such individuals, he announces.

Jeremiah Adebolajo, the brother of Michael Adebolajo, has issued a statement via CAGE:

Speaking as somebody very close to my brother I can only offer, to those willing to listen, the facts. My brother was constantly and closely monitored by the security services. He had almost no online presence at all, a fact that even caused the security services to request me to keep a closer eye on him.

I think the facts of the case, the lack of publicly available evidence to support the report and the convenience with which the government will now be able to expand unpopular spying laws are all testimony to the fact that this report is nothing more than a distraction from the motives behind the attack and a way to put a particular segment of British society under further pressure and surveillance.

Conclusion: MI5 did a great job, give 'em more powers, blame tech companies who don't give out your info. Foreign wars, torture? Codswallop!

Refresh the page to watch Cameron’s statement live above.

MI5 is improving guidance and training for its online teams, Cameron tells the Commons.

The agencies are under extreme pressure, he goes on.

Cameron turns to the “serious delay and potential missed opportunities” in the agencies’ investigations into the two men once their extremist sympathies were identified.

But there is no indication that increased surveillance would have provided advance warning of the attack, he says.

This is a very serious report and there are significant areas of concern within it, Cameron tells MPs.

Things need to change, he adds.

Cameron says the government promised to learn the lessons of the Woolwich murder. The report answers the questions about what security services knew and what must now be done, he says.

The prime minister is speaking now.

He says the murder was a betrayal of Islam.

My colleague Alan Travis has written this piece arguing that the committee’s conclusion that an internet company should have alerted authorities to Adebowale’s extremism “is as outrageous as it is wrong-headed”. He goes on:

It is also a dangerous accusation because it jeopardises the undoubted goodwill that exists among overseas internet companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google, that the British police and security services rely on for help, especially in emergency situations.

It is not the job of the internet companies to intercept the content of their customers emails or other exchanges any more than it was the job of the Post Office to read everyone’s letters. The postmen did not steam open suspicious letters – that was the job of the police special branch, and the distinction is important.

Lee Rigby’s uncle Raymond Dutton has just been speaking to BBC News:

I think everyone in Britain at that time was in a cocoon of safety … that was smashed by these two murderers.

It’s very easy with hindsight … but that information must and should have been passed on.

The ISC report did not name the internet company it accused of failing to alert authorities to extremist activity.

The Guardian has contacted Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Twitter and BlackBerry, who were specifically named in the report in the context of more general conversations the committee had with firms about their methods of identifying extremist material.

We are not commenting on the report at this stage.

My colleagues Ewen MacAskill and Vikram Dodd highlight the main findings of the parliamentary intelligence and security report on the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby in Woolwich:

Despite the considerable public interest in this case, it is nevertheless essential that we do not comment on the allegation that MI5 had been trying to recruit Adebolajo as an agent. In relation to allegations of harassment, we can confirm that we have investigated all aspects of MI5’s actions thoroughly, and have not seen any evidence of wrongdoing by MI5 in this area.

The committee did identify a number of failings in how the security services dealt with Adebolajo and Adebowale before the killing. The main criticisms are the weaknesses in the government’s programmes to deal with emerging or potential extremists, and the failure of the security services to engage properly with Adebolajo after he was accused of terrorist activity overseas.

Here are the key points from the ISC:

We have seen in recent months the numbers of young British men and women who have travelled to Syria and Iraq to engage in terrorism. The scale of the problem indicates that the government’s counter-terrorism programmes are not working. Successfully diverting individuals from the radicalisation path is essential, yet Prevent programmes have not been given sufficient priority.

In the same context, we have also considered SIS’s [secret intelligence service] work to disrupt the link between UK extremists and terrorist organisations overseas. In the case of Adebolajo – a British citizen arrested overseas and suspected of trying to join a terrorist organisation – SIS’s response was inadequate. They considered deportation (or voluntary departure) to be a sufficient solution; they failed to investigate his allegations of mistreatment; and neither they nor MI5 accorded him sufficient priority upon his return to the UK. Given the current situation in Syria and Iraq, we have very significant concerns in this regard.

Here’s more from the committee on its claim that internet companies – particularly those based outside the UK – are “providing a safe haven for terrorists”:

None of the major US companies we approached proactively monitor and review suspicious content on their systems, largely relying on users to notify them of offensive or suspicious content. We also found that none of them regard themselves as compelled to comply with UK warrants obtained under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 [Ripa].

Therefore, even if MI5 had sought information – under a warrant – before the attack, the company might not have responded.

The ISC press conference has finished now. At 12.30pm, we expect David Cameron to make a statement in the Commons about the report.

My colleague Richard Norton-Taylor has this analysis of the report’s argument that online firms should bear a greater responsibility for identifying extremism:

The parliamentary intelligence and security committee’s report into Lee Rigby’s murder has been conveniently sandwiched between the home secretary’s keynote speech on Monday on what she described as an unprecedented terror threat and the publication on Wednesday of the government’s new counter-terrorism and security bill.

Just how convenient is made abundantly clear by the way Sir Malcolm Rifkind, chair of the committee, pointed the finger at internet companies, clearly regarded as the enemies (along with civil liberty groups) in the fight against terrorism.

My colleague Haroon Siddique is in Woolwich, the site of Lee Rigby’s murder, and has been talking to people close to the barracks where the soldier was based.

Enda Mcniffe, a 22-year-old student who has lived in Woolwich all his life, and was this morning walking past the spot where Drummer Rugby was killed, said

From what I read at the time, there was information circulating about [the killers before the murder] and I thought it could have been acted on a bit more.

But it was going to happen, if not to poor Lee Rigby then to someone else.

It’s got to report it if you’re talking about public safety. Even if it’s said as a joke, it’s better to be safe than sorry. There has to be an obligation.

Rikfind repeats the findings of the report that the committee found no evidence that Adebolajo was harassed by MI5 when he returned to the UK. He says further classified information on those claims has been sent to the prime minister, who has a fuller report, without the redactions of the version that has been made public today.

The report’s conclusion that internet companies must allow greater access to the security services will stoke further arguments about online privacy. Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, says:

The government should not use the appalling murder of Fusilier Rigby as an excuse to justify the further surveillance and monitoring of the entire UK population. To pass the blame to internet companies is to use Fusilier Rigby’s murder to make cheap political points.

The committee is particularly misleading when it implies that US companies do not co-operate, and it is quite extraordinary to demand that companies proactively monitor email content for suspicious material. Internet companies cannot and must not become an arm of the surveillance state.
As the report admits, ‘lone wolf attacks’ are almost impossible to predict – and therefore difficult to prevent. The security services should focus their efforts on the targeted surveillance of individuals like Michael Adebolajo rather than continuing to monitor every citizen in the UK.

On pages 170-171 of the report – you can read it in full here – the ISC deals with what it says was the “single issue which – had it been known at the time – might have enabled MI5 to prevent the attack”: the extremist messages sent by Adebowale before the murder. Here are the key passages; the highlighting is mine:

After the attack, information was provided to GCHQ by a third party revealing a substantial online exchange between Adebowale and FOXTROT (an extremist thought to have links with AQAP) in December 2012, in which Adebowale expressed his desire to murder a soldier in the most explicit and emotive manner …

The company on whose systems this exchange took place had not been aware of the exchange prior to the attack. However, they had previously closed some of Adebowale’s accounts because their automated system deemed them to be associated with terrorism – yet they neither reviewed those accounts nor passed any information to the authorities.

Here are the key findings identified by the ISC in the introduction to its report:

Isc member George howarth says report does NOT make case for greater surveillance powers and "wrong" for government to use it that way

My colleague Alex Hern sends this response to the report from the Open Rights group, which campaigns to protect digital rights:

.@OpenRightsGroup “…and it is quite extraordinary to demand that companies pro-actively monitor email content for suspicious material.”

Rifkind is asked why the committee will not name the internet company or even indicate what type of forum it is.

He says the information came to light when GCHQ was given it by a third party on a confidential basis, and so it has to remain confidential.

Rifkind says that when internet companies identify extremism, they often close an account “but they seem to feel no obligation to pass that on to the authorities … even if it relates to terrorist activity”.

No information was passed on by the (unnamed) internet company in this instance, he goes on – even the company’s automatic system did not spot the messages from Adebowale about killing a soldier, which Rifkind says shows the weakness of the system.

The report refuses to comment on claims that the security services attempted to recruit Adebolajo on his return from Kenya, Vikram Dodd points out. The report states:

To publish any information in response to allegations that MI5 harassed Adebolajo or tried to recruit him as an agent would damage national security – irrespective of the substance of such allegations. Despite the considerable public interest in this case, it is nevertheless essential that we do not comment on the allegation that MI5 had been trying to recruit Adebolajo as an agent. In relation to allegations of harassment, we can confirm that we have investigated all aspects of MI5’s actions thoroughly, and have not seen any evidence of wrongdoing by MI5 in this area.

The online exchange only came to light after the murder, Rifkind says.

Internet companies lack of monitoring of potential extremists gives them safe haven and they "need to play their part", says isc

There was no evidence of attack planning in the information security services had on the two killers before the murder, Rifkind says. Specific knowledge would have been needed to have raised the level of surveillance on them.

Here is the full story on the ISC’s findings, which conclude that the brutal murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby could have been prevented if an internet company had passed on an online exchange in which one of the killers expressed “in the most graphic terms” his intention to carry out an Islamist jihad attack.

Rifkind says MI6’s treatment of Adebolajo on his return to the UK from Kenya was not adequate and they did not give him high enough priority as a threat.

Here is the full report from ISC:

If MI5 had seen this exchange at the time, their investigation into Adebowale would have become top priority - it might have prevented the attack.

The one party that could have made a difference was the “overseas internet company” on whose forums the exchanges took place, Rifkind says.

Rifkind says there was an online exchange in 2012 between Adebowale and an overseas extremist (whom the report calls Foxtrot) in which Adebowale set out his desire to kill a soldier.

The description was “graphic and emotive”, Rifkind says.

MI5 did not have any intelligence that Adebolajo intended to carry out any attack, Rifkind says.

At any one time, many people are under investigation for alleged links to Islamic extremism, he says. That the killers had extremist views was not in doubt. But the security services did not have information that they were planning an attack.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, chair of the ISC, is speaking now.

We have concluded that given what the agencies knew at the time, they were not in a position to prevent the murder of Fusilier Rigby.

The report has been published. Ewen MacAskill and Vikram Dodd sent this report:

The brutal murder of Lee Rigby could have been prevented if an internet company had passed on an online exchange in which one of the killers expressed ‘in the most graphic terms’ his intention to carry out an Islamist jihad attack.

The 191-page report by the intelligence and security committee (ISC) says that had MI5 had access to the exchange between one of the killers, Michael Adebowale, and an extremist overseas, Adebowale would have become a top surveillance priority. By failing to alert the authorities the company had, ‘however unintentionally’ provided a ‘safe haven for terrorists’.

My colleague Haroon Siddique is in Woolwich, outside the barracks where Lee Rigby was based. He sends this picture of the memorial to the soldier:

There have been questions over the extent of MI5’s awareness of the two killers since they slaughtered Rigby in May 2013. As my colleagues Sandra Laville and Vikram Dodd reported last year, after Adebolajo and Adebowale were found guilty of murder:

Adebolajo came to the attention of the authorities when he was arrested by the Kenyan police along with seven other young men in November 2010, during what the police said was an attempt to travel to Somalia to fight for al-Shabaab.

Adebolajo, who was born in Lambeth, south London to Nigerian parents, was suspected of masterminding the plan, which involved the seven – including two schoolboys – travelling to Lamu Island, 68 miles from the Somali border, and then by speedboat on to Kizingitini, Pate Island. But the group was arrested after a tipoff and taken into custody.

Here is the letter that Abu Nusaybah, also known as Ibrahim Hassan, sent to Sir Malcolm Rifkind, chair of the ISC, last year. In it he alleges that his friend Michael Adebolajo was subjected to “systematic torture and sexual abuse … by Kenyan troops, which he believed was at the behest of British intelligence … He could not forget or forgive them”. Furthermore, Hassan alleges in the letter:

After his return to the UK, he informed me that he was subject to further harassment and intimidation by the security services in order to pressure him into working for them as an agent, which to him would constitute a betrayal of his own community.

As my colleague Vikram Dodd reported yesterday, there are concerns ahead of the publication of the report that the ISC failed to speak to a number of potentially important witnesses about the alleged involvement of MI5 with one of the killers, Michael Adebolajo, before he killed Lee Rigby:

After Rigby’s murder, several witnesses said Adebolajo had complained of his treatment by the security services. Adebolajo has alleged that there was British complicity in his ill-treatment after he was arrested in Kenya in 2010.

His brother, Jeremiah, who was working at a university in Saudi Arabia, claimed he had also been approached and pressed by MI6 for information.

Good morning. The official inquiry into the jihadi-inspired murder of Lee Rigby in 2013 is due to publish its report at 11am. This liveblog will cover its findings, the implications and the reaction throughout the day.

The report by parliament’s intelligence and security committee (ISC) will set out what the intelligence services knew before the attack by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale in May 2013 on a street in Woolwich, south-east London. Both were sentenced in February to life imprisonment for the soldier’s murder, with Adebolajo, the dominant of the pair, told he would never be released.

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Facebook thought to be tech firm at the heart of Lee Rigby accusations
(Tue, 25 Nov 2014 17:28:46 GMT)

Unnamed internet company, believed to be Facebook, accused of withholding information that could have prevented murder

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Rachel Johnson left with egg on her face after ‘see you next Tuesday‘ tweet to PM
(Tue, 25 Nov 2014 17:21:53 GMT)
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Google launches 'smart' spoon to help steady shaking hands
(Tue, 25 Nov 2014 16:40:12 GMT)

Hi-tech invention aims to help sufferers from essential tremors and Parkinson’s disease and can reduce shaking by 76%

Drones, self-driving cars, robots, balloons providing internet access – Google is stretching a long way from search. Now the company has added a “smart” spoon to its portfolio of hi-tech products.

Google has started promoting its Liftware spoon, a utensil that uses hundreds of algorithms to sense how a hand is shaking and makes instant adjustments to stay balanced.

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Diversity in tech: gender breakdown of key companies
(Tue, 25 Nov 2014 16:19:39 GMT)

Everyone knows it is a problem - men dominate the technology sector. Last week, our women in tech survey showed that 73% of those working in the industry thought it was sexist. This new visualisation by Information is Beautiful reveals the gender and ethnicity breakdowns of employees at some of the giants of the tech world

Read: social networks - how popular are they with each gender?

This is a guest interactive taken from the new book, Knowledge is Beautiful (find out more: UK & US), the sequel to Information is Beautiful

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Social networks - how popular are they with each gender?
(Tue, 25 Nov 2014 16:19:31 GMT)

This graphic visualises the gender balance on some of the world’s most popular social networks. While blogging service Tumblr has a 72% female userbase, males are in the majority on business site LinkedIn.

Read: diversity in tech: gender breakdown of key companies

This is a guest interactive taken from the new book, Knowledge is Beautiful (find out more: UK & US), the sequel to Information is Beautiful

For more on the methodology read the original blogpost at Information is Beautiful.

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Spotify revenues grew sharply in 2013, but operating losses also rose
(Tue, 25 Nov 2014 16:08:42 GMT)

Streaming music service’s turnover up 74% to €746.9m, with 91% coming from its paying subscribers rather than ads

Spotify’s revenues grew sharply in 2013, but so did the streaming music company’s operating losses, as it invested heavily in global expansion, marketing and product development.

The company’s latest consolidated financial results, published in Luxembourg, reveal that Spotify’s 2013 revenues of €746.9m (£592.9m) were up 73.6% from 2012’s €430.3m. However, its operating losses also rose 16.4% from just under €80m in 2012 to €93.1m in 2013.

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Teenagers and tweens watching TV half as much as adults, Ofcom finds
(Tue, 25 Nov 2014 14:53:40 GMT)
Children aged 11 to 15 turning to online video and streaming services in greater numbers, research by media regulator reveals

Read the full Ofcom Children’s Digital Day report Continue reading...







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30 best Android apps and games this week
(Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:23:30 GMT)

Taylor Swift, Civilization Revolution 2, Sleep Better, Messenger, Candy Crush Soda Saga, Football Manager Handheld 2015 and more

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UK needs an ethics council and digital chief in every department – tech experts
(Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:00:07 GMT)

An independent review, commissioned by Labour, has recommended ways to to improve trust and engagement between the government and its digital citizens

The UK government should establish an expert technology ethics body to help address complex challenges, including health monitoring, autonomous vehicles and legal disputes such as the right to be forgotten, an independent review has recommended.

The ethical body, which would be similar to those in medicine and academia, is just one of a slate of wide-ranging recommendations in the Making Digital Government Work for Everyone review published on Tuesday, which explores how technology and digital services could be better used to help citizens.

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Why it’s dangerous to blame internet firms for Lee Rigby’s murder
(Tue, 25 Nov 2014 11:51:54 GMT)
Outrageous claims by the intelligence and security committee threaten goodwill that exists among internet firms and UK police

The claim by parliament’s intelligence and security committee that an unnamed internet company should entirely shoulder the blame for failing to prevent the terrorist murder of soldier Lee Rigby is as outrageous as it is wrong-headed. It really is a case of shooting the messenger.

The accusation by the ISC chairman, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, that the company is providing a “haven for terrorists” because it is not routinely monitoring the content of every exchange that takes place over its networks is not far off a 1920s home secretary blaming the telephone for spreading Soviet Bolshevism.

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Board games' golden age: sociable, brilliant and driven by the internet
(Tue, 25 Nov 2014 10:00:55 GMT)

PlayStation and Xbox may get all the glory these days, but independent board game designers have kicked off a cardboard revolution

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Edward Snowden revelations have had limited effect on privacy – Open thread
(Tue, 25 Nov 2014 07:30:07 GMT)

Have your say on why surveillance stories haven’t led to a bigger upswing in steps to protect privacy, and other stories

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Chatterbox: Tuesday
(Tue, 25 Nov 2014 07:00:00 GMT)
The place to talk about games and other things that matter Continue reading...







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Want to avoid government malware? Ask a former NSA hacker
(Tue, 25 Nov 2014 06:00:08 GMT)

The 17-year agency veteran Jim Penrose, speaking at the Cyber Security Summit 2014 in New York

Many of the brightest minds from the National Security Agency and GCHQ staff tire themselves out from long years of service, moving out into the comfort of the private sector.

Unsurprisingly, the security industry welcomes them with open arms. After all, who better to hand out advice than alumni of two of the most sophisticated intelligence agencies on the planet?

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Amazon offers package collection at post offices
(Mon, 24 Nov 2014 20:01:16 GMT)
Online retailer signs up to Royal Mail’s Local Collect service, which lets shoppers opt to have goods sent to post office Continue reading...







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UK should be embarrassed by its lack of female engineers, says Ed Miliband
(Mon, 24 Nov 2014 18:33:39 GMT)
Labour leader says Britain also needs extra 400,000 people to be trained in profession by 2020 to meet industry demand

Ed Miliband has said Britain’s lack of female engineers should be a “matter of national embarrassment”, as he called for an extra 400,000 people to be trained in the profession by the end of the decade.

Writing on Facebook, the Labour leader said the UK needed about 780,000 engineers by 2020 to meet industry demand, but the country is training less than half of that.

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What’s Yik Yak and how does it differ from Twitter?
(Mon, 24 Nov 2014 16:22:24 GMT)
It’s an anonymous messaging app, thought up by US students Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington. You can only communicate with people in your vicinity, but that isn’t stopping investors pouring hundred of millions of dollars into it

Name: Yik Yak.

Age: One year old.

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PlayStation Network and Windows Live hack was a hoax, companies say
(Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:58:13 GMT)

No evidence of DerpTrolling hack of PlayStation Network and Windows Live found by Sony or Microsoft

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Spanish schools clamp down on smartphones in classrooms
(Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:47:00 GMT)
Teachers’ complaints of interruptions, cheating and cyberbullying has led one region of Spain to ban pupils’ phones in class Continue reading...







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'Regin' malware comes from western intelligence agency, say experts
(Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:27:02 GMT)

‘Usual suspects’ Russia and China thought to be in the clear as attention focuses on US, UK and Israeli agencies

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