By Jonathan Davies

The new boss of GCHQ believes big US tech firms have become the "command and control networks of choice" for extremists and terrorists.

Writing in the Financial Times, Robert Hannigan said some of the tech giants are "in denial" about how their platforms are being used.

He called on the tech firms (the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Google) to work more closely with security agencies in the US and UK to help tackle extremist groups.

In September, I wrote about how Islamic State has utilised Twitter as a key part of its strategy.

The tech companies have previously suggested that it is not their responsibility, explaining that they are simply the platforms on which users can post information. Security agencies and access to users' data has been a contentious issue ever since Edward Snowden leaked information on alleged internet and phone surveillance by US intelligence agencies.

But Mr Hannigan warned that "privacy has never been an absolute right".

"However much they may dislike it, [US technology companies] have become the command and control networks of choice for terrorists and criminals, who find their services as transformational as the rest of us," he wrote.

"The challenge to governments and their intelligence agencies is huge - and it can only be met with greater co-operation from technology companies.

"GCHQ and its sister agencies, MI5 and the Secret Intelligence Service, cannot tackle these challenges at scale without greater support from the private sector, including the largest US technology companies which dominate the web."

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