A push by British Prime Minister Theresa May to clamp down on internet companies in the wake of a deadly terrorist attack in London last week has prompted one of Silicon Valley’s leading lawmakers to go to bat for the tech industry.
On Sunday, May pledged a full review of the country’s approach to counterterrorism and groups like the Islamic State, which have targeted the United Kingdom three times — killing dozens — in less than three months. In her comments, May appeared to take aim at the likes of Facebook, Google and Twitter, stressing the heightened need in the U.K. to consider new ways to “regulate cyberspace.”
"We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed,” May said. “Yet that is precisely what the internet — and the big companies that provide internet-based services — provide.”
Across the Atlantic, however, the prime minister’s comments left some wondering what May might do — or whether she would soon take aim at encryption. And her statement caught the attention of Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna, who has invited May to visit his Silicon Valley-based congressional district in the coming weeks.
In a letter to the British leader, shared with Recode on Wednesday, Khanna also mounted a defense of tech companies, including Facebook and Twitter. He said both social sites had staffed up their teams to monitor for extremist content and accelerated their efforts to take down accounts related to terrorism.
“While I am certain more work to address this issue must be done, technology companies are being responsive and helping lead the effort to combat online sources that threaten our mutual goals for peace and prosperity,” the Bay Area congressman said.
Khanna also implored May to consider alternatives to regulation, including perhaps the creation or promotion of content that can counter the message of extremist groups like the Islamic State.
“In addition to removing violent content online,” the congressman said, "we should be proactive and offer the narrative of brave and peaceful people fleeing these regions in search of a better future for themselves and their families."
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.