from the well,-of-course dept
Jihadists have flocked to YouTube to spread their propaganda. One of those clips, released last week, appeared to take credit for the Times Square bombing attempt -- before Faisal Shahzad tried to ignite his SUV. The video may have been a vital clue for investigators. But does YouTube and its corporate parent, Google, have an obligation to block these videos before they're seen?Of course, this isn't even a new issue. Two years ago, Senator Joe Lieberman grandstanded on the issue, and eventually got YouTube/Google to agree to ban such videos if they "advertise" terrorism or "extremist causes."
That's what one long-time monitor of online jihadists is arguing. "If a certain percentage of Islamist sympathizers are radicalized, in part, online, then it stands to reason that more eyeballs that are exposed to violent Islamist propaganda would eventually translate into more would-be terrorists," writes "Rusty Shackleford," the pseudonymous patron of The Jawa Report. "Which is why even though YouTube has been a boon in helping law enforcement agents detect, post hoc, would-be terrorists it has been a bane in that far more Muslims today can easily access violent Islamist propaganda."
The whole thing seemed ridiculous at the time. As the guy above even admits, these videos are helpful to law enforcement. The idea that people are becoming radicalized because they watch a YouTube video seems pretty unlikely in most cases anyway. These videos are preaching to the choir, not converting kids. Besides, blocking these videos only gives the folks behind them more of a martyr feeling about how people are trying to hold them down and don't want to hear what they're saying. The idea that blocking these videos is "preventing terrorism" seems quite unlikely. But using the videos to actually monitor terrorists and help law enforcement seems like a much more important and useful task.