06:36 GMT10 April 2020
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    The head of MI5 in Britain has called on big Internet companies to help the security services fight terrorism. In a rare public appearance, Director General Andrew Parker told an invited audience that MI5 needs to continue to be able to penetrate suspected terrorists' communications.

    "That means having the right tools, legal powers and the assistance of companies which hold relevant data. Currently this picture is patchy".

    Andrew Parker spoke to a Royal United Services Institute audience at Thames House on the threat from Islamist-inspired terrorism, technology and accountability. He said ISIL makes full use of social media: "To spread its message of hate directly into homes across the United Kingdom — both to those seeking it and those who may be susceptible to its distortion and glamorization of horrific acts".

    MI5 want to be able to force big Internet companies to be more routinely cooperative, across the board, says Margaret Gilmore, expert in UK national security and resilience at Royal United Services Institute: "Some are cooperating but some believe they don't have to. In the post Snowden era, they simply don't want to be seen giving any data away about any of their clients. Even if there's a UK arrest warrant for someone — they don't believe the UK law applies to them; we think it does".

    According to MI5, around 600 Britons have traveled to Syria, where many innocent Britons have been murdered. The danger is they may now be planning to carry outut attacks on British soil.

    Head of MI5, Andrew Parker called for a debate on the development and changes to technology in order to protect the public.

    Margaret Gilmore, who was at to the meeting, says rarely does the head of MI5 speak: "But he sees all the intelligence, so when he does you're going to take him seriously".

    Andrew Parker told the specially invited audience that he had offered their French counterparts any help they need following the attack in Paris which killed 12 people. "It is too early for us to come to judgments about precise details or origin of the attack but it is a terrible reminder of the intentions of those who wish us harm".

    Britain has increased security border checks in France and armed police are stationed at St Pancras International railway station in London following the Paris terror attack. British Transport Police say the increase in security was to reassure the public at the Eurostar terminal.

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