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?




User Comments: 36

Got something to say? Post a comment
Mudvayne819 said:

oh shiz dont flag my site as terrorist!!! us going to bomb my house!

ikesmasher said:

This is one of the lamest things ive heard in a while.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

That's a HORRIBLE idea! People will end up abusing it, just like youtube's flagging procedure is abused. There is only one real solution when you think you've encountered a terrorist promoting website... Call the FBI's local field office in your area, simple as that, and it only takes a couple minutes.

p51d007 said:

Not no, but h*ll no!

I'm a law and order guy as much as anyone in law enforcement, but, the 1st amendment trumps this kind of legislative stupidity.

This would be the key to the government deeming content not suitable for viewing.

It's like anything else the government does. Give them an inch, and they would end up

taking the whole thing!

No no no, keep your hands off the internet. I don't care for probably 80% of the garbage

on the web, but, I don't have to view/listen/watch it either!

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

p51d007 said:

Not no, but h*ll no!

I'm a law and order guy as much as anyone in law enforcement, but, the 1st amendment trumps this kind of legislative stupidity.

This would be the key to the government deeming content not suitable for viewing.

It's like anything else the government does. Give them an inch, and they would end up

taking the whole thing!

No no no, keep your hands off the internet. I don't care for probably 80% of the garbage

on the web, but, I don't have to view/listen/watch it either!

+infinity

Ranger1st Ranger1st said:

The things people do to get themselves in the news .... even if it's an epic fail of an idea.. Sad thing is i can see one of the many Republican nominees upping the stupidity level on this one to show that they are more in control then the next guy...

Guest said:

Maybe someone should brand the Us Senate and Congress as terrorist... after all they are the ones who funded bin laden, the Taliban, Saddam and Iraq after they funded Iran and the local population overthrew us puppets. The list goes on and on the true threat to the world is the US Government

Guest said:

...and obviously 4chan will end up reporting Microsoft dot com a hundred thousand times as a terrorist site...

Guest said:

It used to be the communists, now its the terrorists.

Guest said:

They need to justify all money they get for weapons

Guest said:

Button size should be BIGGER then Google Logo !

Guest said:

Oh I can't wait to use the Terrorist button, my neighbors dog terrorizes me every time i come home, my Girlfriend terorizes me every time i get a call on my cell phone from another female dosnt matter who, my postman terrorizes me my electricl company and gas company terrorize me coming on my property without asking and frightens me to dseath whenever i see shadows on my windows that terrorizes me, my whole neighborhood terorizes me, the paper boy terrorizes me.....

Guest said:

please submit by uploading the female terrorists photos for the world to see

Guest said:

don't forget the Android icon, terrorist tab button

---agissi--- ---agissi---, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Thats the best thing he can do with his time?

Guest said:

this thing terrorize me...where is the damn button.....then in some years they will ask for an automatic nuclear Strike Button...i d i o t s

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Well, if the terrorists are hooked up with Facebook, couldn't they just put a "Like" button on their sites to get around this...?

Guest said:

Lieberman, the guy who regularly sells himself ? Ok good idea though, The 1st page I will signal as terrorist is his.

Mindwraith said:

Guest said:

It used to be the communists, now its the terrorists.

+1

SalaSSin said:

Guest said:

Lieberman, the guy who regularly sells himself ? Ok good idea though, The 1st page I will signal as terrorist is his.

+1

Gars Gars said:

US military:

- So, who's next?

- Check google...

foreverzero89 said:

just another way the congress is shitting on the Constitution.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I think this sort of scare mongering by a certain lobby is one way of keeping people from questioning the 'real' motives behind the so called WOT, but then again what else one can expect from a herd of sheep.

Guest said:

If our government followed the Constitution, we would be 180 Degrees from where we are now, in every possible way. This country is in the toilet.

dotVezz said:

I know this has been said several times, so I'm just going to repeat a good point:

This would be abused soooooooooooooooooooo much that any real, useful data would simply be lost in the flood of troll flags.

dedparrot said:

someone punch that guy.

Guest said:

keyword is what Google is selling, "the news" should be the button !

"silly government" has the lowest search result.

Guest said:

In a word... or better yet an acronym... LOL!!!

MrAnderson said:

Wait let people flag content as "Terrorist" ... wait April fools is no where in sight... ::sigh:: he just wants a be a blip in the otherwise crowd of new bling bling... ::sigh:: scary and stupid idea. Why not have a random slander button too.

kakarot27 said:

the question is, what is terrorism?

Renrew Renrew said:

--and ****** like this run the country!

treetops treetops said:

I like this idea just make people put there name address and social in the complaint so its not abused.

BrownPaper said:

All the trolls would flag the entire Internet as terrorist activity. In practice, this is dumb.

Guest said:

uh oh! wheres googles terroism button at? j/k i agree with this guy.

Nicragomi said:

I think I remember a Robot Chicken skit that I could apply to this story...

"Oops! I only put 49 stars on this cake!" - TERRORISM!

"We just voted Democrat!" - TERRORISM!

"Time to light the Hanukkah Menorah kids!" - TERRORISM!

Guest said:

hahahahahahahahahaha, that americans are crazy... (asterix y obelix with the romans) The american politics are the most paranoics of all world politics (and the politics are like women that only love you for your money ;)

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