Rep. Barton Demands The FCC Filter ISIS From The Internet

from the act-first-think-later dept

There's been a universe of responses to the recent tragedy in Paris, and unfortunately the lion's share of them are incomprehensibly stupid, adding a compounded feeling of inevitable dread to the already heart-breaking ordeal. From punishing all Syrian refugees for the attacks to blaming Edward Snowden and encryption, there's once again far more knee-jerk inanity being generated than reasoned commentary. Joining the fray this week was Rep. Joe Barton, who simply can't seem to understand why we can't start filtering this whole "terrorism" part of the Internet.

Barton was speaking this week at yet another House hearing designed primarily to shame the FCC for standing up to ISPs on net neutrality. These show pony hearings have been going on for much of the year now, and their overarching end goal is to strip the agency's authority and funding under the auspices of reform. Ironic then, that Barton took some time out to urge the FCC to start regulating Internet speech:
"They are really trying to use the Internet and all the social media to intimidate and beat us psychologically," Barton said during a House committee hearing Tuesday. "Isn't there something we can do to shut those Internet sites down?"
Well one, we're beating ourselves psychologically by responding to tragedy by being aggressively stupid. Two, as we've noted time and time and time again, Internet filters just don't work. They're easily bypassed by even the most mentally-stunted toddler, and they open the door to atrocious savaging of free speech rights. When they do "work," they generally result in the filtering of legitimate content. Barton seems to realize this in his statements, but plows forward undeterred:
"Barton conceded that censoring the Web sites might be difficult -- "I know they pop up like weeds" -- but plowed ahead with his proposal, suggesting that the Federal Communications Commission attempt to shut down the sites. "They're using the Internet in an extremely offensive and inappropriate way against us," he continued.
But the real problem isn't the fact that when you censor content it pops right back up it's the censoring of content in the first place. You'd think that an elected official would be at least marginally familiar with the First Amendment that says, you know, that the government can't censor speech. And yet here he is directly advocating outright internet censorship.

Again it's important to understand that Barton, who creatively dubs net neutrality "net nonsense," was attending a hearing with the unspoken intent of gutting FCC authority. And, ironically, it was the FCC that had to remind Barton that regulating website and social media is too far outside of its wheelhouse. Still, it's amusing that Barton believes imposing consumer protections to defend free speech is a horrible, unchecked abuse of the FCC's authority, but dramatically expanding FCC power to restrict free speech somehow makes perfect sense.
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Filed Under: censorship, fcc, isis, joe barton, net neutrality


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 18 Nov 2015 @ 4:54am

    Actually...

    I think it would be downright hilarious if they took him seriously, and called his stupidity/bluff. Ask him flat out if he's willing to support sites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube being blocked by the FCC as 'providing aid to terrorists' or whatever term he cares to use.

    Watch him squirm as suddenly he has to either back down or double down on the idiocy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 6:56am

    Barton needs to move to China.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 8:14am

      Re:

      Or Saudi Arabia. A religious dictatorship seems like the type of thing he and his cronies are into.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Richard (profile), 18 Nov 2015 @ 8:35am

        Re: Re:

        In fact that is exactly the kind of regime that the terrorists want to impose on us.

        Does that make Barton a terrorist?

        Should he be arrested in the latest crackdown?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 12:26pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          But Saudi Arabia are good friends with the US. The USA are selling weapons to them and buying their oil.
          So are you saying that if IS would sell their oil to the US instead of countries around them then they could be friends with the USA too?

          I mean it can't be the beheading or the religious fanaticism because SA isn't much better than IS in that regard. Maybe it's the whippings that make SA better or that you can pay people to be whipped for you, capitalism and all but who knows.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 6:57am

    I don't support ISIS or terrorism, but I do support freedom of speech.

    Freedom of speech isn't the freedom to not be offended or insulted. Even 'on a computer' as some people like to think makes things different.

    When you start to censor some things, you open the door to censoring other things. Today it's terrorism. Tomorrow it's dissent. It spits in the face of the Constitution.

    But seriously fuck ISIS.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Just Another Anonymous Troll, 18 Nov 2015 @ 6:58am

    I'd just cut off Barton's internet and declare victory. He can't see those sites anymore.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 7:10am

    Cognitive dissonance, thy name is Joe Barton.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 18 Nov 2015 @ 8:22am

      Re:

      Why blame cognitive dissonance when stupidity is a perfectly good explanation?

      And they are not mutually exclusive either.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 1:59pm

        Re: Re:

        Why blame cognitive dissonance when stupidity is a perfectly good explanation?

        Thank goodness we still have freedom of speech, because that allows grandstanding fools to be seen as to what they are. Censorship hides stupidity and foolishness just as much as it hides whatever fools and idiots don't want to see.

        How does someone like this make it past the candidate nomination meeting? Where'd all the ruck making journalists go? Why aren't this guy's antics front page news exposes?

        Thanks Karl, Mike, TD and all the rest. Sometimes I wonder if we're the only sane people left on the planet.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Peter (profile), 18 Nov 2015 @ 7:19am

    If the FCC removes ISIS from virtual life and the DOD from the real world, we can finally live in peace and forget about terrorism.

    If Barton could pass a law to that effect and get FCC and DOD to finish the job in the next couple of weeks, he'll top the candidate list for the next president of the US of A.


    PS: If the DOD did its job in the real world, we need not worry about the virtual part at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 7:47am

      Re:

      ...If the DOD did its job in the real world, we need not worry about the virtual part at all...

      The US military can win almost any battle it gets into.

      Winning a war requires solid political guidance. Sadly the Desert Storm campaign was the last time the US got solid political guidance.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 8:23am

        Re: Re:

        . Sadly the Desert Storm campaign was the last time the US got solid political guidance.

        Would that be the same desert storm campaign where we attacked a secular tyrant on behalf of theocratic states that have subsequently funded the kind of activity that has led to the recent attacks.

        No - the last time there was solid poitical guidance was probably WW2.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 8:31am

          Re: Re: Re:

          A secular tyrant who never threatened the West or sponsored terrorism against us.
          A secular tyrant who was tolerant of ethnic and religious minorities provided they posed no direct threat unlike some of the regimes that we supported.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Wendy Cockcroft, 20 Nov 2015 @ 7:43am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            And we never cared that much about what he got up to until he became our problem by giving up the Petrodollar and trading in Euros. Then he invaded Kuwait...

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        alternatives(), 18 Nov 2015 @ 8:39am

        Re: Re:

        The US military can win almost any battle it gets into.

        Really? Do I get my money back if they don't? How about a thermonuclear one - or is that one "no deposit, no return"?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 18 Nov 2015 @ 10:01am

          Re: Re: Re:

          How about a thermonuclear one - or is that one "no deposit, no return"?

          I think that would qualify as one of the few battles they cannot win. Note the use of the qualifier "almost".

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 1:06pm

        Re: Re:

        "The US military can win almost any battle it gets into...
        It must be true, I saw it on TV!!!"

        said the brainwasheed sheep...

        "Oceania Has Always Been At War With Eastasia"

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 7:21am

    Between this and all the governors statements about illegally rejecting refugees all I have to say is... Damn, we suck at electing competent people to public office!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 7:29am

      Re:

      The problem with competent people starts well before the election, they do not stand for office. I mean, could you work with the average politician without feeling terminally soiled?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 7:45am

        Re: Re:

        You miss the point. It is not the fault of the incompetent officials that they are in that position and acting like jackasses. A jackass is expected to act like a jackass. It is our fault for putting them there. Hence the operative words in my comment were "We suck."

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    NoahVail (profile), 18 Nov 2015 @ 7:41am

    Barton just keeping his promises

    Joe Barton gets paid >$100,000 each election cycle to demonize and defang the FCC.
    http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/industries.php?cycle=2014&cid=N00005656&type=C

    It wouldn't be honorable for him to not deliver what he was paid for.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 8:04am

    I seriously doubt that half of congress

    could pass a grade school Internet skills test.

    Watching it is a meal of gallows humor and nausea. It's funny, until you remember that the army answers to these guys.

    When I see this kind of thing, I think of the Little Rock Nine. The new bigotry is a technological one, but it is the same old song and dance. I keep wondering when the state guard is going to be called out to start jacking people up for being technically competent.

    Guys like Barton, are just the current version of Orval Faubus.

    Overturn Citizens United. Reinstate Glass Steagall. Bust Trusts. That is the only way we are moving forward.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 18 Nov 2015 @ 10:14am

      Re: I seriously doubt that half of congress

      It's funny, until you remember that the army answers to these guys.

      The army (and the rest of the military) answers to the President, not Congress. Congress' only role is in funding. Unless that's what you meant by "answers to".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 10:59am

        Re: Re: I seriously doubt that half of congress

        The army (and the rest of the military) answers to the President, not Congress.

        I guess it depends. Congress has the sole authority to declare war, after all. I don't think there's ever been an instance where Congress declared war and then the President refused to mobilize the troops needed to fight it, so it's not exactly clear what would happen in that case. I suspect Congress would attempt to impeach the President, but I have no idea if that would be considered sufficient grounds to do so.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 18 Nov 2015 @ 11:45am

          Re: Re: Re: I seriously doubt that half of congress

          Congress has the sole authority to declare war, after all.

          Yes, but declaring war doesn't actually direct the armed forces to do anything.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 1:18pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: I seriously doubt that half of congress

            did they just declare war on math?

            math better hides his face and stays underground!!!

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2015 @ 10:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: I seriously doubt that half of congress

            ...do you have some kind of limit on how many words you're capable of reading in one day? I mean, I expect this kind of stupidity in most comments sections, but techdirt generally has a higher standard of people, you know, people that care capable of reading more than one sentence.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              nasch (profile), 19 Nov 2015 @ 11:02am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I seriously doubt that half of congress

              I mean, I expect this kind of stupidity in most comments sections, but techdirt generally has a higher standard of people, you know, people that care capable of reading more than one sentence.

              Wow, you sure are an asshole.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 8:06am

    Assuming you know which they use, censoring just kills an intelligence gold mine

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 18 Nov 2015 @ 8:26am

      Re:

      The alphabet soup agencies might be secretly cursing Barton. But they can't say so. Because the secret cursing is a classified secret -- because it would reveal intelligence gathering methods. Methods which Barton wants to take away from the TLAs. (three letter acronyms)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 8:15am

    Would I be correct to argue that Mr Barton wants to make the internet a 'safe space?'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 8:22am

    The DOJ seizes websites all the time, why would ISIS ones be any different? And why would extra authority be needed?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 18 Nov 2015 @ 8:27am

      Re:

      Because there is no "ISIS website" ISIS uses other services (Facebook, Twitter and the like)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 8:29am

      Re:

      because ISIS is clever enough to use web sites like Youtube, Twitter and Facebook, and it would be interesting for the government if they closed those down.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 2:30pm

      Re:

      ...maybe because those websites were seized because they were purportedly dedicated to illegal activities, not speech, and ISIS's speech, however repugnant and disgusting, along with American access to that speech, is protected by the Constitution and the law of the land.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 8:26am

    Ah yes...

    It appears that ISIS is really just the MPAA trying another option to force SOPA down our throats.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 8:32am

    The FCC was too kind to Barton.

    The FCC should have responded to his proposal to filter ISIS from the Internet by standing up and shouting "YOU LIE" at Joe Barton.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 8:33am

      Re:

      Opps, just realized, it was Rep Wilson who shouted you Lie at Obama, not Rep Barton.

      Barton was the guy who apologized to BP.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    alternatives(), 18 Nov 2015 @ 8:35am

    "They are really trying to use the Internet and all the social media to intimidate and beat us psychologically," Barton said during a House committee hearing Tuesday. "Isn't there something we can do...."

    Yes - Operation Mockingbird. Say, how DID that turn out?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 8:58am

      Re:

      "They are really trying to use the Internet and all the social media to intimidate and beat us psychologically," Barton said during a House committee hearing Tuesday. "Isn't there something we can do...."

      Alternatively:

      Don't watch Fox or CNN.
      Don't read newspapers.
      Don't listen to talk radio.
      While leaving all electronic devices inside Faraday cages at home, go for a several months long walk while thinking about how stupid your suggestions really are.
      Stop taking money from those PAC's.
      Find a new job, not in politics and without responsibility.
      Get a lobotomy.
      Practice cranial electronic stimulus with antiquated tools and no safeties.
      Serve your constituency rather than your paymasters.
      Get a life.

      ...oh, you mean the FCC? Well, no.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Dolz (profile), 18 Nov 2015 @ 9:00am

    "They are really trying to use the Internet and all the social media to intimidate and beat us psychologically," Barton said during a House committee hearing Tuesday.”

    Unlike Rep. Barton I have faith in our internet trolls to take on and beat Isis in this theatre.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 9:09am

    I don't understand. Do we want to remove ISIS from the internet, or do we want to expand internet surveillance capabilities in order to better track ISIS on the internet? Because doing both seems rather counterproductive...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 3:18pm

      Re:

      Do we want to remove ISIS from the internet, or do we want to expand internet surveillance capabilities in order to better track ISIS on the internet?

      Yes. Welcome to the magic of big (as in, lack of checks and balances and supervision) gov't.

      After all, the FBI's busy mfgr-ing terrorist plots, the CIA's protecting Afghan heroin growers (fueling Russia's heroin epidemic, you know) and fomenting coups in eastern Europe, and the NSA's busy shredding the 4th amendment. Surely we've got enough people sitting around looking for things to do, why not shred the 1st amendment too while we're at it? That stupid constitution is gettin' on 2.5 centuries old, ffs. Does anybody really still need or want it? It doesn't seem so.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 9:21am

    I don't think it is stupid to look at the refugees coming out of Syria. Our government has already stated that they can't make sure that there are not ISIS members hidden within the flood.

    If you can't know that the refugees would be safe to bring into this country, why the hell would you?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 18 Nov 2015 @ 9:49am

      Re:

      I don't think it is stupid to look at the refugees coming out of Syria

      I think the money that comes from other places in the middle east is more of a problem.

      Remember that IRA terrorism was funded for many years by US money. When that dried up the IRA was forced to make peace.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), 18 Nov 2015 @ 10:03am

      Re:

      1) Isn't this a bit off topic?

      2) You do realize that the people who did 9/11 came into America legally, right? Blaming the refugees for Paris would be like blaming the hammer if it was used as a weapon. The refugee crisis was just a tool, an excuse that the terrorists used. If there weren't refugees, those terrorists would have just had fake passports. Or, hell, real ones. It's not like they were worried about getting back home.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 18 Nov 2015 @ 10:23am

      Re:

      I don't think it is stupid to look at the refugees coming out of Syria.

      Your implication that we don't "look at" refugees coming out of Syria (or anywhere) is incorrect; they go through an extensive screening process.

      If you can't know that the refugees would be safe to bring into this country, why the hell would you?

      We can't ever know that anything we might do would be safe. The question is, what is the risk compared to the benefit?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 1:30pm

      Re:

      "If you can't know that the refugees would be safe to bring into this country, why the hell would you?"

      if the answer is implicit in the question...
      ain't this a rhetorical question?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Yes, I know I'm commenting anonymously, 18 Nov 2015 @ 9:23am

    He is not even a clueless politician, he is a desperately clueless politician.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 18 Nov 2015 @ 11:09am

    Go ahead

    Let's go ahead with his proposal and see where it leads:
    1) All sites that talk about ISIS are blocked.
    2) ISIS attacks.
    3) Government officials (like him) then complain that the attack could have been prevented if only the intelligence agencies found "chatter" about it on some website.

    In other words, this proposal is just as dumb as telling YouTube to take down videos of criminals filming themselves, even though police agencies use the videos to track down the criminals!

    But, hey, something has to be done!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 11:21am

    Don't let them into the US? No Risk.

    Let them in? Some risk.

    Seems pretty clear to me.

    If you don't think Europe has a really big immigration problem, then you are not paying attention.

    Oh, and the Speaker of the House is included in a Marines Chain of Command.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 11:37am

      Re:

      If you don't think Europe has a really big immigration problem, then you are not paying attention.

      That problem is one of finding housing, jobs etc. In case you did not notice, the Paris attackers were EU citizens, and not immigrants, so do not lay the charge of terrorism against immigrants.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 18 Nov 2015 @ 11:51am

      Re:

      Don't let them into the US? No Risk.

      Let them in? Some risk.

      Seems pretty clear to me.


      You forgot the other side of the equation.

      Don't let them in? No benefit.

      Let them in? Some benefit.

      Not so clear.

      Oh, and the Speaker of the House is included in a Marines Chain of Command.

      Couldn't find any information on that, do you have a reference?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 3:29pm

      Re:

      If you don't think Europe has a really big immigration problem, then you are not paying attention.

      So I've heard. At the same time, a lot of people are saying politicians are blowing that problem way up (fear-mongering) out of all proportion to its actual significance to the rest of the population.

      Who's right? I tend to discount the opinions of self-serving fear-mongers. You?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 11:34am

    Not in Chain of Command

    You see the speaker of the house anywhere in this Chain of Command?

    http://www.military.com/join-armed-forces/basic-training-chain-of-command.html

    Recruit
    Drill Instructor (DI)
    Company Commander
    Battalion Commander
    Regimental Commander
    Division Commander
    (Chief of Naval Education and Training)
    Commandant of the Marine Corps
    Secretary of the Navy
    Secretary of Defense
    Commander-in-Chief (President of the United States)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 4:17pm

    They're using the Internet in an extremely offensive and inappropriate way against us – MAFIAA

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    samuel (profile), 18 Nov 2015 @ 10:29pm

    war

    did they just declare war on math?

    math better hides his face and stays underground

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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