Social Media Companies Refuse to Shut Down People Smuggling Networks

  • Facebook, YouTube and other social media organisations have refused to shut down many pages understood to be used by networks for people-smuggling, despite requests from Home Office staff and police, MPs have heard.
  • The home affairs select committee inquiry opened a day after a record 409 people crossed the Channel from France in 27 small boats.
  • Rob Jones, the Director of Threat Leadership at the National Crime Agency (NCA), said “in the first five months of the year we referred over 1,200 pages related to organised immigration crime to social media companies for closure. Of those, 578 were closed and 485 were rejected as not breaching terms and conditions” he told MPs.
  • People-smuggling was “flourishing” because encrypted social media platforms provided a “really good, dynamic, agile way for people to move migrants between them, and for groups to communicate”, he said.

Research Finds Special Needs Children Forgotten About as Schools Reopen

  • It has been alleged that pupils at special schools in England have been “forgotten about” in the rush to restart full-time education,
  • 20,000 children with special needs are unlikely to return to school because of safety concerns, according to a study.
  • The research, completed by ASK Research, found that parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) were concerned about sending their children back to school due to medical vulnerabilities or because their child’s needs mean they cannot adhere to social distancing and safe practice.
  • Headteachers at more than 200 schools and colleges in England told researchers the government’s guidance had been unclear and showed a lack of understanding of how special schools work, the types of pupils they support and how much they rely on other key services including healthcare and local charities.
  • Amy Skipp, the Director of ASK Research, who led the project, said: “Messages from government and the issued guidance have been confusing for children with special needs who faced an impossible situation over the last few months.”

Vulnerable Children at Risk as Councils Cut Services 

  • Vulnerable children are facing a dangerous reduction in support as councils axe services in an attempt to fill a multi-billion pound black hole left by the COVID crisis, Labour has warned.
  • Town halls across England, including Luton, Oxfordshire and Croydon, have tabled emergency budgets involving cuts to spending on children and young people, sparking warnings that unless ministers add to the £3.7bn in emergency coronavirus funding so far provided to councils, children will suffer.
  • The Institute for Fiscal Studies has calculated that soaring costs and slumping income will result in a £2bn deficit for councils this year. Luton council, which is proposing to cut £3.2m from its children and families budget, said Covid-19 had had a “catastrophic impact” on its finances, not least with income from its airport company plummeting.

ISIS Library Found Online

  • One of the largest collections of online material belonging to the group calling itself Islamic State has been discovered by researchers at the Institute of Strategic Dialogue (ISD).
  • The digital library contains more than 90,000 items and has an estimated 10,000 unique visitors a month.
  • Experts say it provides a way to continually replenish extremist content on the net.
  • But taking it down is difficult because the data is not stored in one place.
  • And despite counter-terrorism authorities in Britain and the US having been alerted to this growing repository, it continues to grow.
  • ISIS uses social media platforms and more obscure chatrooms to convince many young people in the UK to join their ranks.