Amber Rudd to ban acid sales to under-18s after 'revolting' attacks

Rudd made the comments during the Spectator magazine's debate about internet freedom and encryption at the Conservative party's annual conference in Manchester on Monday night. A Home Office spokesman confirmed the proposed law change, although there is no timeframe attached to the plan as yet.

She said: "We have seen what could be interpreted as a shift towards crude attacks, with lone or few attackers, using everyday items". It wants to plug what Rudd couches as a gap in the law around material that is streamed or viewed online instead of being permanently downloaded.

In the meeting, Rudd added that end-to-end encryption services like WhatsApp, which is a system of communication that prevents telecom providers, internet providers and others eavesdroppers from deciphering encrypted messages between communicating users, facilitate the spread of anonymous online terrorism content.

The new law will extend an existing ban on downloading and possessing the content on a PC to repeatedly watching it through sites like YouTube.

Now it applies only to material that is downloaded and stored.

The blast came as the Government's former terror chief David Anderson QC warned that Governments were in an "arms race" with terrorists online.

"We will change the law, so that people who repeatedly view terrorist content online could face up to 15 years in prison". The same maximum sentence would face those who share information about police, soldiers or intelligence agencies with a view to organizing terrorist attacks.

In one attack in July, five men were targeted by two moped-riders in north and east London in the space of 90 minutes.

And she said she did not need to understand how they worked to know they were "helping criminals".

She added that British security agencies foiled seven terrorist plots thus far in 2017.

Her move follows a surge in "absolutely revolting" acid attacks - many of them gang-related - in London and other major cities.

"It's so easy to be patronised in this business", the home secretary replied. "We will do our best to understand [end-to-end encryption]", she said.

She went on: "I do feel that there is a sea of criticism for any of us in politics who try to legislate in new areas".