Explaining To Congress That Blocking YouTube Videos Doesn't Stop Terrorism

from the that's-not-a-strategy dept

We’ve pointed out in the past how ridiculous it is to suggest that forcing YouTube to delete videos from terrorist groups actually does anything to harm terrorist groups. It’s not like some random person is coming across those videos and saying “hey, that makes sense, now I’ll be a terrorist.” In fact, by monitoring those videos, law enforcement can actually find out more about what terrorists are saying and what they’re up to. Yet, we’ve had politicians attack websites that don’t automatically pull down such videos.

Thankfully, there are people who recognize this is ridiculous. It looks like a bunch of experts testified at a House Committee hearing on homeland security, and repeatedly made this point:

“A mandate requiring the removal of terror-recruiting content online could be counterproductive to the fight against terrorism,” said John Morris Jr., general counsel of the Center for Democracy and Technology. “Using appropriate legal process, government agencies may be able gain invaluable information about terrorist operations by monitoring online sites and services.”

Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU, urged the committee against “sacrificing our civil liberties in pursuit of security.”

“We leave it to others to debate whether evidence shows that terrorists? use of the Internet makes them more effective or simply more vulnerable to interception of their communications,” Romero said. “Instead we are here to implore this subcommittee not to level its legislative guns at this most democratic of communications tools.”

Hopefully, the politicians listen, but I fear the opportunity to grandstand on this issue will be too much of a draw.

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Comments on “Explaining To Congress That Blocking YouTube Videos Doesn't Stop Terrorism”

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Dr. Strangelove (user link) says:


Thus far, there are three scholarly books available on the subject of YouTube:

The YouTube Reader, (2009) Edited by Snickars and Vonderau
YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture, (2009) by Burgess and Green

and this one:

Watching YouTube: Extraordinary Videos by Ordinary People (University of Toronto Press, 2010).

Table of Contents

1. Home Movies in a Global Village
2. The Home and Family on YouTube
3. Video Diaries: The Real You in YouTube
4. Women of the ‘Tube
5. The YouTube Community
6. The YouTube Wars: Elections, Religion, and Armed Conflict
7. The Post-television Audience

— Dr. Strangelove

Boraxo (profile) says:

Yeah, its not like...

…some bored American will see these, decide to dub herself Jihad Jane, and try to become a terrorist. We’ve started to see bored dimwit chicks who want to play with the terrorist bad boys (a single mother in, IIRC, Colorado, just disappeared to meet up with her online terrorist boyfriend).
Now whether banning these videos will work, who knows, you still have chat rooms. But yeah, people sometimes do see these and decide to join the merry band of thugs.

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