DHS Chief: Tech Firms Must Act Quicker to Remove Extremist Propaganda

By Aaron Kesel

The acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke has called on Silicon Valley to remove extremist content, Reuters reported.

The United States and Britain are set to push social media firms to deal with the problem at a G7 meeting of interior ministers this week, Duke told reporters in London where she had been meeting British Home Secretary (interior minister), Amber Rudd.

“There has been a shift and for us somewhat with the Charlottesville incident,” she said. “There are a lot of social pressures and they want do business so they really have to balance between keeping their user agreements and giving law enforcement what they need.”

But that’s not all; the Trump administration is also trying to go after encryption technology.

“We would like to have the ability to get encrypted data with the right legal processes,” Duke said.

It’s an argument that has persisted since the Obama administration – should the government have backdoor access to encrypted chat apps despite being in a violation of civil liberties?

Duke said there’s been a change in the behavior of tech companies since a rally organized by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August turned deadly when a counter-protester was killed after a man drove his car into the crowd deliberately killing a woman Heather Heyer.

“The fact they are meeting with us at G7 is a positive sign. I think they’re seeing the evidence of it being real and not just hyperbole,” Duke said.

Now the tech companies themselves are going to be meeting with G7 leaders to handle this problem of “extremist content.” But does that define just ISIS videos, or is the definition broader? She actually answered that question, and so has Google and its subsidiary YouTube who have begun a crackdown on content on the video platform and search engine.

“The number of foreign fighters we have returning is declining,” she said. “The number of home-grown violent extremists, most of them inspired by terrorist organizations, is increasing.”

Notice how she didn’t state ISIS, she said the broad definition “terrorist organizations.”

Google and YouTube have even begun targeting “conspiracy theories” and websites spreading “conspiracy theory as factual information without basis.”

Obama’s DHS didn’t hesitate to call those who believe in conspiracy theories potential right-wing terrorists, stating the following points might make someone a terrorist in a study by the University of Maryland, which was funded in part by the Department of Homeland Security.

  • Americans who “are fiercely nationalistic, as opposed to universal and international in orientation”
  • Americans considering themselves “anti-global”
  • Americans who are “suspicious of centralized federal authority”
  • Americans who are “reverent of individual liberty (especially their right to own guns and be free of taxes)”
  • Americans exhibiting a belief in “conspiracy theories that involve grave threat to national sovereignty and/or personal liberty and a belief that one’s personal and/or national way of life is under attack”

Specifically listing Americans who love liberty as terrorists, noting two subgroups of “right-wing extremism” were identified as “gun rights” and “tax protest,” according to PJ Media.

After all, according to U.K. think tank Demos, literature from more than 50 extremist groups includes “conspiracy theories.”

So how will Trump’s administration compare to his predecessor? It has almost been a year since President Donald Trump took office and we seem to be losing more and more of our rights day by day. I guess in the eyes of the DHS I am a terrorist and so are you if you just read this article.

Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post and is Director of Content for Coinivore. Follow Aaron at Twitter and Steemit.

This article is Creative Commons and can be republished in full with attribution. Like Activist Post on Facebook, subscribe on YouTube, follow on Twitter and at Steemit.

Image Credit: Anthony Freda Art (modified)


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