Smarter alien overlords, please…

Despite the best efforts of the RIAA, Comcast and the anti-squirter lobby, no one can really say they control the internet. The possibilities behind the technology involved make even controlling a small piece akin to herding cats, and only the most detached, ignorant people even WANT to anyway.

…and right on cue, here’s the most detached member of the most detached organization on the face of the earth, flappin’ gums:

A U.S. senator has asked Google to remove videos — produced by Islamist terrorists — from YouTube.

In a letter to Google chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt, Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., said, “A great majority of these videos document horrific attacks on American soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan.”

Other videos, Lieberman said, “provide weapons training, speeches by al-Qaeda leadership, and general material intended to radicalize potential recruits.”

Figures it’d be Lieberman who’d find a gap in the usual barking big enough to fit Teh Terrorpanick in.

His demand (that is what this is, a demand. He is a congressman, his communication in this regard inherently carries with it an implicit threat) shows that he couldn’t possibly understand just how YouTube works. It’s not like a few videos go up and the admins hand pick each one to go public, the volume of that site is impossible to watch so closely. Besides, common sense says the amount of jihadi propaganda videos compared to the whole isn’t even a needle in a haystack, it’s a single molecule of metal in one, and it’s not like the few who put up that kind of crap are uploading their videos with tags like “jihad”, “american death”, “suicide bomber” or “infidels”, if the point of them isn’t to preach to the converted.

Way I see it, putting them up on YouTube in the first place doesn’t even make sense from their perspective. If according to Lieberman and his fellow warmongers they hate us because, among other things, if I wanted to I could open a tab in Firefox right now & within seconds navigate to a virtual buffet of images ranging from video models tastefully semi-nude to the smuttiest smut ever smutted, w/o getting whipped for it, then I’d say if your recruitment pool is surfing YouTube…

Putting aside all that, let’s humor him: suppose they could reliably remove these videos?

According to terrorism analyst Ben Venzke, removing terrorist videos from YouTube would have little effect.

“The core underlying issue is that, whether you take the videos off of YouTube or not, they will always be available at numerous other locations online,” Venzke told ABC News.

“New outlets are popping up constantly, and when you take one down, 10 more simply appear to fill the gap. The problem is the very nature of the Internet itself. It makes controlling and denying access to information simply impossible,” Venzke added.

Case in point: Earlier this month, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Reform Committee, which Lieberman chairs, issued a staff report entitled, “Violent Islamist Extremism, the Internet, and Home Grown Terrorist Threat.”

At a press conference on May 8, Lieberman played a video compilation that included beheadings and bomb and rocket attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq.

That video, which was posted on YouTube, has since been taken down. But after showing the clip at his press conference, the video was linked and posted on other Web sites and remains available. (emphasis mine)

And then, even in the cases where the jihadis identify themselves in the videos that rubs up against another problem:

Many terrorist videos are branded with logos and icons identifying the source of the videos. Lieberman suggests this branding by Islamist groups could be used to identify videos that should be removed from YouTube.

Venzke, who runs the IntelCenter, a counterterrorism contractor that works with military, intelligence and law enforcement clients, says that could have some unintended consequences.

“If automated means were used to identify material, would a news report or documentary containing the same material, but produced by a reputable news outlet, also be blocked or removed simply because the logo appeared?” Venzke asked.

Here’s an idea: don’t like it? Then don’t watch it. If you’re on YouTube and you somehow accidentally come across such a video, report it. If you’re a fan of those type of videos, you’re probably not on YouTube. If you’re Joe Lieberman, you might wanna seek medical help for that bed-wetting issue…


About b-psycho

Left-libertarian blogger & occasional musician.
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