U.S. Senator tells Google it needs a "terrorist button"

By on November 25, 2011, 6:00 PM

In a letter addressed to Google's CEO, Larry Page, the company is asked to add a "flag" for content deemed to be terrorist related. The letter was sent by well-known Independent, Joe Lieberman, a U.S. senator from Connecticut. As of 2008, Lieberman also happens to be the chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

The letter makes a significant point to single out Blogger and the recent arrest of Jose Pimentel, an individual thought to be a pipe-bomb terrorist. Jose used Blogger to host trueislam1.com (appears to have been taken down), a blog designed to propagate his  threatening messages. The site also included instructions on making bombs at home. The proposed solution? Add a clearly defined policy against pro-terrorism content and enable users to flag material that promotes terrorism.

However, Lieberman doesn't limit this suggestion exclusively to Blogger, expressing his disappointment that Google does not have a uniform policy across all of its services to address this type of material. The letter suggests he would also like to see some sort of flagging system for such content across the entire Googleverse. 

From the first page of the letter:

In November 2010, Google introduced a 'flag' button for terrorist content on YouTube. I continue to appreciate and commend these important first steps, but I am disappointed that Google has not developed a consistent standard throughout its many platforms. Unlike YouTube's Community Standards, Blogger's Content Policy does not expressly ban terrorist content nor does it provide a 'flag' feature for such content.

Because of a request by the U.S. government in 2008, Youtube modified its terms of service to encompass the filtering and removal of this type of content. In 2010, Google added an option to flag videos as "Promotes terrorism" under the "Violent and repulsive content" menu. Now, it appears the committee may want a similiar system in place anywhere content is hosted for public consumption.

What's your take: should Google comply with this request and if so, to what extent?

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