What Will Happen When Governments Disagree Over Who Is A Terrorist Organization... And Who Needs To Be Blocked Online?

from the a-big-mess dept

You may have heard the recent news that President Trump has decided to label the the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a "foreign terrorist organization." The IRGC is Iran's powerful military/security/law enforcement apparatus -- that also owns a ton of businesses. As the White House itself admits, this is the first time a foreign government agency has been referred to as a foreign terrorist organization. This is big news in a huge variety of ways -- in large part because it could end up criminalizing lots of people and businesses who unwittingly do business with the IRGC including (checks notes) a firm called The Trump Organization.

But, leaving that aside, it raises some other issues as well. We've been talking about the impact of the terrible EU Terrorist Content Regulation that the EU Parliament will soon be voting on. But, as we've discussed in the past, there are lots of questions about who decides just what is "terrorist" content. Daphne Keller tweeted about the IRGC decision, wondering what happens when one country's laws demand the removal of content from another country's government and suggests (accurately) this is going to lead to a huge mess.

Of course, it also gets even more complex than that. On a recent On The Media episode, they discussed efforts by a few different websites to archive terrorist propaganda, both to learn about what's happening (in the form of open source intelligence), but also for the purpose of historical records. As the piece notes, many researchers and reporters find those archives to be incredibly valuable. And yet, they're dealing with issues of demands for the content to be taken down as "terrorist content."

This is not a new issue. For years, we've pointed out how demands to delete "terrorist content" online has regularly resulted in the silencing of human rights groups documenting war crimes.

Combine all of this together and we're creating a recipe for disaster. The EU is demanding that all "terrorist content" be deleted with one hour's notice. The US is designating government organizations as terrorist groups. And human rights groups trying to document war crimes are being kicked off the internet. None of this seems like a good way to actually fight terrorism. It really seems like a solution designed to pretend that terrorists can be swept under the rug, like if we don't know what they're doing out there, they'll just magically disappear.

Filed Under: donald trump, eu, foreign terrorist organization, iran, irgc, terrorism, terrorism designation, terrorist content, terrorist content regulation

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2019 @ 9:49pm

    You believe WMD in Iraq and link to 9/11

    Did/does he? Or are you projecting?

    when are you going to condemn Israel classifying half the population of Palestine as irredeemably insane sub-humans and penning them behind an apartheid wall, increasingly cutting off their communications and supplies?

    I don't know, maybe never since this is mainly a tech blog. It's irrelevant since his opinion is not relevant to what he mainly writes about.

    Besides the anti-free speech attempts here in US to stifle the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement to expose Israel's crimes?

    You seem to not know how to use the search function. Here, let me help you:


    You're highly selective on what concerns you.

    Considering he's already written about the unconstitutional attacks on the BDS movement and how bad they are, you're wrong. You should likely do some research before you make baseless accusations that are easily disproved by a ten second search on the site.

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