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UK Report Blames The Internet For Terrorism, Says ISPs Should Take Down Content

from the can't-even-understand-the-role-of-an-isp-then? dept

It appears that technologically clueless, reactionary politicians blaming the internet for terrorism and demanding ways to censor content are not just limited to US Senators named Lieberman. Nope, it appears that some elected officials over in the UK have similarly allergic reactions to the internet. The Home Affairs Committee in the UK Parliament has released this fear mongering report about how the internet is somehow radicalizing the youth into being terrorists, and how ISPs need to pull down content.

All of these reports seem to assume that because some kids used the internet to learn about terrorism, that it's the internet's fault they became terrorists. There's no thought to the idea that these disenfranchised kids were likely to seek out whatever way they could to join a terrorism organization. That would involve actually understanding the root causes of terrorism, though, and it's much, much easier to just point a finger and blame the internet. Of course, since it appears these luddites don't understand the internet at all, it's no surprise that they confused ISPs with hosting companies -- and demanded that the ISPs "take down" content, when the only thing they really could do would be to block content. Hosting companies would be able to remove it. David Meyer, the ZDnet UK reporter who wrote the story linked above, asked a spokesperson for the committee to explain this rather glaring error, and the person "was unable to explain." That should tell you just about everything you need to know about this report, and it should be laughed out of any further discussion should it ever be brought up again.

Filed Under: blame, censorship, isps, terrorism, uk

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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 8 Feb 2012 @ 6:55am

    Re: Re:

    "Before the internet, it was incredibly hard to communicate around the world. Many child pornographers would have been isolated, with no way to "hook up" with others that have similar interests."

    But not impossible. Child porn most definitely existed before the internet, and the lack of media hype meant that it often went unnoticed.

    Also, the same argument as above could be made about connecting people with purely decent interests (e.g. Linux was made possible by the internet, as have a huge number of educational resources).

    "This is one of those areas where the effects of the internet are clear and very negative."

    Only if you take one side of the argument.

    The flipside, of course, is that it also makes it easier for these people to be tracked. If ordinary people anywhere in the world can access these images, then so can law enforcement. If used correctly, they can not only catch the people ultimately responsible for child porn, but also gather intelligence to enable future gangs to be caught more easily. It can be used as a fantastic tool to monitor and catch criminals, and even set up honeypot and other traps to catch would-be paedophiles before they can abuse a single child.

    It's not cut and dried, but the argument is there that the internet has helped catch as many of these people as it has allowed to do evil things. The internet is ultimately a benign tool - what it allows ultimately isn't anything new, although the scale and accessibility might be.

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